NFL

Russell Wilson Once Launched an App That Was Backed by Jeff Bezos

In recent years, quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes have reinvented the position. Dual threats are becoming more and more popular among NFL teams. While players who rely solely on their arm like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have still found success, quarterbacks with a motor always pose a threat to burst downfield for a gain of 10 or 20 yards.

One of the most impressive dual-threats from the early 2010s is Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson. But if you check his business acumen, it makes more sense to classify him as a triple threat. 

Russell Wilson’s history in the business world

Wilson has always been interested in business ventures. From his endorsement deals to the much-maligned recovery bubbles in his signature water, to his most recent creation — and it’s a big one.

Wilson recently founded a sports prediction app called Tally. Similar to other apps in the space (like HQ Trivia), it asks players to predict events or answer questions and then awards points. Tally was built to integrate with not only football games, but other sports and live events.

A CNBC article published after Wilson signed a record-breaking contract in 2019 went into more detail about the origins of Tally and how it wound up backed by Jeff Bezos.

Viewer engagement with live events is at an all-time high. Before the modern era, fans would either attend the game or watch it on TV. But now they have the opportunity to follow the game and chat about it online, and the Tally app aimed to be an extension of that engagement.

Wilson spoke in the article further about what inspired him to work on the app:

“People from all over the world watch the Super Bowl live, and people play their own games. What if there was a location that everybody could do that? What if … every live moment from games, to concerts, to shows — what if everything could be as exciting and as fun as the Super Bowl live? And that’s what we really wanted to build out”

Tally’s fall and the next step

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Unfortunately for Russell Wilson, Tally only ran for a few months despite offering massive prize pools. It peaked with a $250,000 offer for the Super Bowl in 2019 but struggled to maintain a market share.

The trivia/prediction app space was completely flooded in early 2019 and it was difficult for Wilson’s app to stand out. As of September 2020, the Tally app has been completely removed from the Apple App Store.

But just as Wilson doesn’t have to win the Super Bowl every year to be one of the best quarterbacks in the game, it’s not a reflection on his business acumen that Tally didn’t succeed beyond his wild expectations.

Technology is progressing at an unbelievable pace. Perhaps Wilson’s next venture will be an even bigger success. Wilson’s company TraceMe (which developed Tally) was acquired by Nike.

Whether Wilson works alongside Nike to develop a new version of the Tally App or simply looks elsewhere for his next venture, it’s impressive that he managed to find business success so quickly. He’s led the Seahawks to a winning record every single year he’s been the QB and still has a few more good years in the tank

How Russell Wilson is securing his future

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For a long time, NFL players have struggled to find success after retirement. Many end up broke or bankrupt, and injuries sustained over the course of a career make everything more difficult. But Wilson is taking steps toward a sustainable living after his NFL career ends.

Investing in what’s effectively a side hustle gives him a great chance of residual income. It’s interesting that Wilson has found so much success on the football field since he’s clearly got a talent for the business world.