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How to buy a stake in your favorite football player

Most pro football fans already find themselves personally invested in the fortunes of their teams and favorite players. Now they can get a return on that investment.

Fantex, a brokerage based in San Francisco, offered 421,000 shares of San Francisco 49ers' star tight end Vernon Davis to the public Monday, making him the first-ever publicly traded athlete. Davis' "initial public offering" was priced at $10 per share, and at mid-afternoon was up 10% on volume of 101 shares.

In exchange for $4 million upfront, Davis agreed to sign over 10 percent of his future earnings to Fantex. As those earnings grow from contracts, endorsements and other "brand" income sources, investors receive dividends, the brokerage's co-founder and CEO, Buck French, told CNBC on Monday.

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Investors also receive a piece of Davis' post-football career, French added.

"So should he become a broadcaster or a talk show host, that cash flow is all encapsulated within the security and linked to the security," French said on "Squawk on the Street." "We absolutely intend to pay out dividends as we collect the cash flow from Vernon Davis' brand."

San Francisco 49ers Veron Davis
Getty Images
San Francisco 49ers Veron Davis

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster also signed with Fantex and had an IPO scheduled for last year, before his season-ending back surgery postponed the offering. French said Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel also agreed to sell shares of his future earnings on Fantex's exchange.

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Fantex announced on Twitter just after noon ET on Monday that shares of Davis were now trading on its exchange:


The financial security's structure is similar to a tracking stock. French also likened the investment to a real estate investment trust. The bets on an athlete's post-sports income function as a call option, French said.

"If we're able to grow that brand, we'll actually make money off that brand as well," French said. "So at the end of the day the interests are aligned."

French said he plans to expand the brokerage to other sports and even other industries, allowing investors to potentially buy stakes in musicians and actors.

—By CNBC's Jeff Morganteen.

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