Randy Newsom, everyone's favorite side-arming, entrepreneurial minor leaguer has a newish business venture.
We'll get to that in a second. First, a recap.
Last year Newsom created Real Sports Investments, where fans could buy shares of minor leaguers (Newsom's cost $20), and if/when that minor leaguer made it to the majors, investors would make a percentage of that player's salary. It was creative, since Newsom argued that minor leaguers make piddly squat and could use the extra dough, but it was also frowned upon by both the SEC and Major League Baseball.
That time is now. Check out Real Sports Interactive.
This time instead of buying shares in a player's future earnings, you buy "Player's Cards," the price of which will ebb and flow based on the market. Think of it basically like a fan club. You plunk down $20 and the minor leaguer, desperately in need of cash for equipment and training, gets the cash. If it sounds a little like a sponsorship, that's because it basically is. (You can buy or sell your card in their virtual market.)
Oh, and like last time, Randy Newsom is currently the only player card available.
So what do you get? Well, it depends on how man "cards" you buy. First, there's the benefits every cardholder receives regardless of whether that player ever makes it to the majors or not. Those include: 1. Pass to attend all RSI autograph and photo sessions beginning in 2010. 2. RSI Access Card. 3. Sponsorship Card Certificate. 4. Free entry into all RSI memorabilia giveaways. 5. Invitation to play in yearly RSI golf outing with all RSI players.
If your minor leaguer becomes a major leaguer (and spends 31 consecutive days on the active roster), the options blossom. Slowly.
(Yes, this is very much like collecting Marlboro miles or the UPC's of the back of cereal boxes for prizes. The only difference is that in this case, there's little guarantee you get anything.)
1 card gets you a signed baseball, t-shirt, or mini-bat. 2 cards get you a signed poster, two tickets to a MLB game, a signed poster, or some other stuff. 5 cards get you a personal phone call. 15 cards get you a pitching/hitting lesson from your star or maybe a lunch with the player. For 20 cards you're sitting down to dinner with the player.
And for 125 cards you get the RSI Gold Package, though it doesn't say what that entails exactly. I imagine you get to dress in their uniform and play a game in their place, then maybe enjoy their girlfriend or wife for the night, and their car. Come on, 125 times $20 = a lot of freaking money.
Also, check out Randy's blog here where he talks about RSI and his daily toils in the minor leagues in Akron.