NFLPA Driven Program | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

NFLPA Driven Program


The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Diversity Equity Inclusion & Belonging



The NFL Players Association’s Driven program aims to address the diversity gap in licensing by empowering diverse entrepreneurs through a comprehensive two-year accelerator program through its licensing and marketing arm, NFL Players Inc. (“NFLPI”). NFLPI is one of the world’s largest and most influential licensors, managing over 90 licensees and generating nearly $3 billion in player-product sales in 2023. By providing strategic mentorship, access to NFL players, licensing rights, and marketing support, Driven fosters the growth of early-stage consumer product businesses led by underrepresented founders. This initiative not only tackles systemic inequalities within the licensing industry but also fosters a more inclusive ecosystem for diverse entrepreneurs and consumers to participate in the sports landscape. The NFLPA saw a 100% increase in diverse-led partners, who now make up 27% of its consumer products portfolio.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

The NFLPA Driven program sets a new benchmark in fan engagement by promoting diversity and inclusion in the licensing ecosystem. Through strategic partnerships and collaborations, Driven fosters the creation of innovative consumer products that cater to a wide range of fan demographics. This initiative inspires and moves the industry forward by showcasing the potential of athlete-driven collaborations to drive meaningful change and innovation in the licensing landscape, ultimately shaping a more inclusive future for sports fans and consumers. In the inaugural cohort of the Driven program, both Greentop Gifts (diversity-driven celebration items) and Signables (licensed sports collectibles and memorabilia) achieved success by collaborating with the NFLPA team and players. Greentop Gifts enhanced its product line and community ties with insights from NFL players, while Signables expanded its fan base and product appeal through partnerships with NFL players. Brown Toy Box Inc. (educational toys representing Black children), Reveal Suits (high-end custom suits and blazers, personalized with officially licensed lining for both men and women) and STIK, Inc. (handcrafted knitwear for all seasons) have officially joined the second cohort of the Driven program.


Identifying a problem where only a small percentage of NFLPA licensees, for instance, were owned by women or people of color, the impetus for the program was not only to increase access to NFL player rights and marketing influence but also to catalyze change across licensing and diversity NFLPI’s business portfolio. Aligned with the NFLPA’s advocacy for social justice and reform, the program represents a natural next step in efforts to combat the systemic inequities experienced by underrepresented business leaders. The diversity gap in licensing, as defined by the NFLPA, stems from what is termed “sideline culture” — a daily reality of systemic inequity faced by business leaders who belong to underrepresented groups such as people of color, women, and others. The Driven program addresses this by providing access and opportunities for these entrepreneurs, breaking down institutional barriers, and ensuring representation of all fans and consumers through product offerings in the industry. The Driven program offers access to more than 2,000 NFL players, licensing rights, mentorship, research and development, funding, strategic partnership, and marketing support. Its goal is to empower diverse entrepreneurs, promote their long-term success, and establish a foundation for diversity and inclusion.

Strategy & Execution

The NFLPA Driven program is strategically designed to cater to the needs of modern sports fans by fostering diversity and inclusion in the licensing ecosystem. We are interested in a wide range of consumer product concepts and genres that will fully represent all fans and consumers in the market. Football fans curate a diverse demo and now consumers can buy products that reflect their similar background.


  • NFL Players Association


Terése Whitehead
VP, Consumer Products & Strategy
NFLPA/NFL Players Inc.

Chelsey Antony
Senior Business Counsel
NFLPA/NFL Players Inc.

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.