Terrell Owens, NFL Hall of Fame Wide Receiver, becomes first Team Ambassador for the HBL, launching in June 2020.
Cleveland, OH (June 24, 2019) – Ricky Volante, CEO of the Historical Basketball League (HBL), and David West, COO of the HBL, announced Terrell Owens is partnering with the league to become its first Official Team Ambassador.
The HBL is the first college basketball league to compensate and educate its athletes. The league will begin play in June 2020 with an inaugural schedule of eight teams in East Coast cities spanning the Mid-Atlantic and Piedmont regions. With its athlete-centric model, the HBL does not have traditional team owners, opting instead for coupling investor-operators groups and team ambassadors.
As a Team Ambassador, Owens will serve as an influencer and marketing face of one of the HBL teams. He will work with the HBL’s management team to identify and secure local sponsors, partners, and investors. Additionally, Terrell will serve as a mentor and resource to the athletes. HBL CEO Ricky Volante said, “Terrell’s interest in positively and meaningfully impacting the next generation of athletes made him an obvious choice as a Team Ambassador for the HBL.”
Owens, a Hall of Fame wide receiver, ranks third all-time in career receiving yards (15,934) and touchdowns (153). Throughout his 16-year NFL career, Owens played for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals. Owens was selected in the 3rd round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers after graduating from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Owens’s experiences in the NFL and at UT-Chattanooga give him a first-hand understanding of how the current college sports system does not meet the needs of college athletes. Owens was drawn to the HBL because of the league’s mission – developing athletes for careers in basketball and beyond, and providing meaningful educational opportunities, all without requiring athletes to sacrifice their fair share of the revenues they generate. On joining the HBL, Owens said, "The change the HBL is bringing is long overdue, and I'm thrilled to join as the first Official Team Ambassador. An athlete-first model that will treat college athletes equitably and as partners is needed, and I'm excited to be a part of its development."
HBL COO David West was thrilled to be able to start working with the NFL Hall of Famer. West said, “I’ve always admired TO. After speaking with him about the HBL, it was clear that we felt similarly about creating an equitable opportunity for college athletes, one that puts the athletes first. Ricky and I look forward to working collaboratively with Terrell to see the HBL vision realized.”
Before the HBL, basketball players were excluded from the lion’s share of financial benefits while everyone around them received significant compensation. The HBL provides a new and better opportunity, one without economic and academic exploitation. The HBL’s players are projected to earn between $50,000 and $150,000 per season based on athletic talent and marketability, in addition to receiving a guaranteed scholarship and having the ability to fully commercialize their name, image, and likeness, all without jeopardizing their eligibility with the HBL.
Other industry veterans are impressed as well. Luke Bonner, owner of Power Forward Sports Group and HBL Advisory Board member, said, “What the HBL is doing is truly groundbreaking, building a bridge between the professional athlete community and the next generation of top talent. These Ambassadors will help prepare athletes for the professional game in a way not offered by the current system.”
June has been a busy month for the HBL. In addition to bringing Owens on board, the HBL announced it was launching its 2020 season in eight cities: Philadelphia, Baltimore, District of Columbia (D.C.), Richmond, Norfolk, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta.
HBL CEO Ricky Volante explained that with Owens on board as the first Team Ambassador, the HBL was on track to meet its goal of being the premier destination for NBA-bound college athletes and thus creating must-see basketball for anyone interested in watching future all-stars during their college careers. “Our Team Ambassador roles enable current and former professional athletes to participate in the strategic development and implementation of the HBL’s business model – something they are currently excluded from with other professional leagues. Athletes have an incredible wealth of knowledge, and value far beyond what they can do on the field. In addition to addressing inequality affecting college athletes, we believe that more former athletes should be represented in senior management positions of professional sports leagues. We (and Terrell) expect that others will continue to join us in fixing college basketball and the role of athletes in sports more broadly.”
Volante promised more news in the coming weeks and months as the league plans to roll out the initial members of the HBL’s Athlete Advisory Board, team names and logos, as well as to announce further details of sponsorships and partnerships as the HBL moves toward its June 2020 launch.