Tyler Duffey’s banking that if you like the Twins and you appreciate his contribution to the home team, you might want to invest in his career.
Duffey's part of a bold new world of speculative finance as part of a deal with the investment company Fantex. In exchange for $2.23 million up front, Fantex will receive 10 percent of all his future earnings – on and off the field.
Eventually, Fantex hopes to offer fans the opportunity to buy shares in Duffey’s future.
The company, launched in March 2014, has contracts with 20 pro athletes, including golfers and football and baseball players. They include Collin McHugh of the Houston Astros, Yangervis Solarte of the San Diego Padres, and Maikel Franco of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Note that they aren't stars, which is precisely the point. They're the guys most likely to take the one-time, fast-cash payment Fantex offers as a hedge against a career that may not pan out.
Fantex then sells shares in these athletes at about $10 a pop.
So far, they're not growing much in value. The incentive for fans isn’t so much profit, but the novelty of an athlete stock exchange. It mixes the age-old yearning to bet on sports with the semi-popular investment mantra of "invest in the brands you love, even if they’re not that strong."
After all, the shares don't cost that much, and Twins fans are nothing if not loyal.