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Sandra L. Richards, Head of Global Sports and Entertainment, Morgan Stanley talks about the sports business

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Professional athletes are one of the most earning athletes in the world, and most of their income comes from endorsements and other efforts. “The 50 highest-paying athletes in the world have raised an astonishing $ 2.97 billion in the last 12 months before taxes and agency fees,” said a 2022 top-paying athlete. I reported. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg as the NCAA ruling expands professional and financial conditions, allowing college athletes to be rewarded and take advantage of names, images and portraits (NILs). ..

Being a professional athlete can lead to a lucrative career, but you must face the unpleasant truth that 78% of athletes go bankrupt within three years of retirement. Female athletes face further challenges. One is the considerable wage gap compared to men. For example, the average NBA player earns $ 5.3 million a year, while the average WNBA player earns an average of $ 130,000 a year. This large wage gap will bring talent to international teams during the off-season for many WNBA players. One such player is Brittney Griner, who is currently detained for smuggling hashish oil into a Russian prison. Brittany has been playing for UMC Yekaterinburg since 2014 during the WNBA off-season.


For (bes) The Culture has spoken with Sandra L. Richards, Head of Global Sports and Entertainment at Morgan Stanley, to unpack and discuss solutions to these ongoing issues. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Sports business

Morgan Stanley GSE and Columbia Business School collaborated on the online course The Business Of Sports. This course brings together leaders in the fields of sports, marketing, finance, media, and management to provide participants with an internal view of the global sports and entertainment industry. Guest lecturers include Salvatore Galatioto-President, Galatioto Sports Partners and more.

For (bes) The Culture: Does access to financial education have a positive impact on the potential of athletes to maintain financial success during their careers and in their posts?

Sandra L. Richards: Yes! It has a big impact. We want to give athletes we meet through Morgan Stanley GSE access to our financial education program. The program and partnership with financial advisers will help them learn how to better manage their finances and protect their assets in the long run.


For (bes) The Culture: How does Morgan Stanley want Business school Partnerships that affect the industry? Does it help improve the financial statistics related to athletes’ finances?

Sandra L. Richards: The impact on us is accessible financial knowledge. The global sports industry is estimated to generate more than $ 600 billion over the next few years. We want to help people, athletes, managers and others take advantage of that $ 600 billion by providing details of the sports industry that are not normally discussed outside of a particular circle.

For (bes) The Culture: Is it possible for athletes and entertainers to return from bankruptcy or “lost everything”?

Sandra L. Richards: It’s difficult, but I witnessed it happen. With the right financial advice, athletes have the ability and opportunity to bounce!



On June 30, 2021, the Division 1 Board of Directors approved the Name, Image, and Portrait (NIL) policy, which was enacted in July after the Supreme Court’s ruling on NCAA. This policy allows all NCAA D1, D2, and D3 student athletes to receive NIL compensation regardless of whether the state has NIL law.

This ruling changed the potential economic trajectory of many student athletes. The NIL policy allows these athletes to explore new ways to create generational wealth for themselves and their families.

For (bes) The Culture: What can newly recruited college athletes do to manage and maintain their wealth early?

Sandra L. Richards: When thinking about teams that support young athletes, they are managers, agents, and families. It’s easy to forget about the financial adviser who deals with the athlete’s assets. Not waiting for financial guidance is the best thing these athletes can do. They are becoming millionaires almost overnight. Managing it is a big responsibility. It is important for athletes to have the big picture, invest in assets, and have the financial knowledge to make authorized business decisions.


For (bes) The Culture: How is Morgan Stanley tackling this new area with the NIL ruling a year after its implementation?

Sandra L. Richards: We have always thought about this in advance. The NIL ruling paved the way for these student athletes to build wealth. We take that duty seriously. College athletes are on social media with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers, these students are the next generation of influencers, and their success is our success.

For (bes) The Culture: What resources does Morgan Stanley GSE provide to student athletes?

Sandra L. Richards: We provide financial literacy tools such as marketing, budgeting and stock market education with lawyers and public relations professionals. These are tools and resources that weren’t considered when they first entered college careers. These things alone can make a big difference to your future professional success.

Title IX

Title IX, a federal-funded law requiring equal access to girls and women’s activities in schools, celebrated its 50th anniversary on June 23. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls have had more than 3 million sports opportunities since Title IX was passed. Morgan Stanley’s Global Sports and Entertainment Division has supported gender equality efforts in sports in a myriad of ways. Most recently, Sandra participated in the 50th Anniversary of Title IX at this year’s Sports PR Summit-a panel on the current stage of women’s sports.


For (bes) The Culture: How was your participation in the Sports PR Summit Panel?

Sandra L. Richards: It was great. Great women from Hilary Knight OLY, Team USA Hockey, Gold Medalist, World Champion, ESPNNHL Analyst and more attended. Haley Rosen, Founder / CEO of Just Women’s Sports, Andrea Perez, Vice President and General Manager of Women’s Sports in Jordan Brand, and Erin Kane, Vice President of Women’s Sports in Excel Sports Management. Title IX is an influential law that supports women’s right to participate in sports.

For (bes) The Culture: When talking about sports inequality, the number one topic is wage inequality. What is Morgan Stanley currently doing to promote economic equality for female athletes?

Sandra L. Richards: We work with female athletes on financial literacy and education to do our best. There is a wage gap issue that needs to be addressed. Our job is to maximize the finances and assets these players currently have so they can continue their long-term financial success.