Joshua Sanchez: Taking Care of Business

Advising Athletes and Entertainers

The average person might wonder why highly paid pro athletes would ever need business guidance. But their incomes vary widely depending on the sport. The average National Football League player’s salary is about $2 million per year. The Major League Baseball player’s average is about $4 million per year and the average annual salary in the National Basketball Association is about $7 million, according to CNBC.

When caught up in the action of watching a game, fans may forget that pro sports are major businesses. The players, however, are usually not well-versed in financial and business matters. So, after the final score — and between games and seasons — who do they turn to for such matters?

Sometimes, it’s an old friend with business savvy. And since 2016, for more than two dozen clients it’s been Unlimited Management, LLC in Long Beach, California, headed by CEO Joshua Sanchez.

sanchez quoteA native of Long Beach, a hotbed of athletes who went on to play in the NFL, Sanchez played football in high school and college, making many friends along the way. Fact is, the business of Unlimited Management grew quite organically.

“I was one of those friends that took football seriously, but you know, everybody doesn’t make it to the National Football League, so I focused as much on academics,” Sanchez told Advisors Magazine in a recent interview.

But one of his good friends did make it to the NFL: three-time Pro Bowl selection DeSean Jackson, a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles. “I grew up with him, and that’s how all this kind of trickled,” Sanchez said.

Growing up, when he, Jackson and other friends got together, they all knew that Sanchez’s family was into real estate. And in being exposed to such an environment, just hanging out together, the seeds for a business were planted — even though Sanchez and friends may not have known it at the time.

“A lot of these kids are from inner city communities so when they came to where I was, it was just night and day based on their own experiences,” Sanchez explained. “They became involved in an environment that was totally different from their upbringing.”

Sudden wealth can be a game changer, and there came a time when some — like Jackson — signed pro contracts and became very successful. For many, being in the NFL was more of a shock to the system than the hardest hit on the football field.

“It was a new space that they took on, when it came to transitioning not just playing the sport, but the actual business of the National Football League,” Sanchez said.

Some quickly discovered they needed a trusted friend — someone they’d listen to when he’d suggest not buying a Ferrari right away, but instead focusing on a budget and the tax implications of new-found wealth.

“They knew that when it came to business, there was a comfort level in coming to me because of my background and my family’s background in real estate,” Sanchez recalled.

Going the Distance
For pro athletes, the money tends to come fast and at a young age. And while an NFL annual average salary of $2 million may sound like a lot to the typical person, a pro athlete’s career is far shorter than most people’s careers. The average NFL career lasts 3.3 years, according to the NFL Players' Association.

IMG 4427Sanchez, armed with business acumen and after acquiring years of real estate skills, recognized that as individual athletes became very successful, they needed guidance and direction for their decisions.

Initially, Sanchez advised a group of close friends with whom he had relationships that were nurtured over time. He got to a point where he wanted to transform such advice for friends into a true business.

“So, I used that network to transition what has transpired over the last 10 years into a business,” he said. “I understood what the model should look like, so I wanted to create a business management firm, and now that’s Unlimited Management LLC.”

His concept of business management is at the intersection financial literacy and business practicality.

“A lot of these young men and women in these spaces have so much activity that we get involved from A to Z,” Sanchez said. “That can be from handling their accounting, their budgeting, their bill paying to business advice, to insurance, umbrella policies, estate planning, taxation, tax returns to legal as well.” Unlimited Management now has in-house attorneys, specializing in entertainment, corporate and business law.

Today, the firm counts 10 employees out of its one central office in Long Beach and is involved with the NBA, NFL, Major League Soccer and entertainment—actors, writers, musicians. With 30 clients ages 19 to 65 in all different sports and entertainment, the company also services small businesses for a collective total of some 200 hundred clients. About 25 percent of clients now are women.

Growth has been fast and strong. In 2016, Sanchez started with two clients. In 2017, he signed on John Ross III as a client, that year’s NFL number nine draft pick and now a wide receiver with the Cincinnati Bengals. “That was a big deal. I was 26 years old,” Sanchez recalled. “So, we’ve been adding about six clients per year.” Among the most recently added is college basketball star Jayden Scrubb, who declared for the 2020 NBA draft, which will be held November 18.

Leveraging the Network
Sports and entertainment are connected and those in such industries all need guidance and business advice.

“It all parlayed from just doing a good job for clients on the sports side and then transitioned to the entertainment side,” Sanchez said.

Unlimited Management represents several record labels, and also works with entertainment mega-agency Roc Nation’s Emory Jones. Another good friend and entrepreneurial mentor is Michael Rubin, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

As CEO, Sanchez’s main role now is mostly oversight and building Unlimited Management.

“We actually just started, for some of our clients in the real estate sector, to get into the venture capital (VC) side as well,” Sanchez said. “We do not handle any securities — no stocks or bonds, that’s completely outsourced to a banking partner of ours which is Citi National Bank.”

Growth leads to additions to staff, and Sanchez said he’s always looking for talented business managers with connections to expand in the existing space and beyond.

Josh Unlimited Management 1150“When I think of taking the company to that next tier, you have to have people like myself who have a network; I initially brought in all the clients. Now, it could be business managers bringing in their book of business, or looking to build a book of business.”

Interestingly, the pandemic has also helped the firm grow. Sports seasons were delayed. Athletes couldn’t report to camp. There were no shows being produced or concerts being staged. So, some suddenly had time to reconsider who and what they had in place for their personal affairs.

“A lot of their focus has been on ‘how am I doing?’” Sanchez explained. “And as they focused on this, we actually gained clients.”

Sanchez now does little day-to-day client work. Still, he’s always ready to help — especially a friend.

“The point is, we’re not just going to be here during their playing careers or their entertainment careers,” Sanchez said. “We want to put them in a position to have longevity. They’re going to make a lot of money in a short period of time and they need individuals and teams next to them that can help them navigate a space with integrity at a high level — and make sure they’re doing the right thing.”


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