Power Players

A-Rod: 'I work so much harder at my business than I did at baseball'

Alex Rodriguez on May 9, 2019, at NBC's "Today."
Zach Pagano | NBCUniversal | Getty Images

More than 11 years ago, former Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez told CNBC's Becky Quick he would rather be on the cover of Fortune magazine than Sports Illustrated. And since retiring from the New York Yankees and professional baseball in 2016, A-Rod has been busy focusing on his multiple businesses.

But A-Rod says the transition from athlete to businessman has taken some work.

"I work so much harder at my business than I did at baseball because I don't have the competitive advantage," Rodriguez told Quick on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. "I am going up against really, really smart people with great teams."

In 2003, Rodriguez founded A-Rod Corp, a holding company that has invested in businesses like Snapchat, VitaCoco, Wheels Up and NRG eSports. In 2008, Rodriguez founded Newport Property Construction, a real estate development firm, and in 2012, Monument Capital Management, a real estate investment firm. Newport Property Construction has handled over $1.5 billion in residential, commercial and mixed-use assets, according to the A-Rod Corp site. Monument Capital Management has acquired more than $700 million of real estate assets across the U.S.

Rodriguez's interest in investing started at an early age; he dreamed of owning real estate since he was a kid.

When Rodriguez was growing up, "every 18 months we would have to move because the landlord would raise the rents," he said during a 2018 dinner with "Shark Tank" investors Kevin O'Leary and Daymond John, which aired on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "I said to myself, 'Boy, if I could ever trade places with the landlord and own [the property],' and the first shot I got at 22 years old, I bought my first duplex."

Rodriguez had a head start on investing, he told Quick on Wednesday, because he started making money quite young. That gave him time to learn.

"I learned [about investing] by making a lot of mistakes," he said.

"I learned because I was a No. 1 pick [at] Westminster Christian [School] in Miami as a 17-year old. I've had a lot of time to practice," said Rodriguez, who was a millionaire at the age of 17 after being signed to the Seattle Mariners in 1993, and went on to have an iconic career in the Major Leagues. "Average career [in baseball] is five and a half years, and I've played for almost 25 years. You make 90% of your income as an athlete from age 20 to 30," he said.

Watch CNBC's "Back in the Game," starring A-Rod, on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

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