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Fantex Lets You Invest In Pro Athletes Like Arian Foster

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Why settle for an autograph when you can own stock in a player instead?

That's the basic premise behind Fantex, a startup brokerage service that plans to sell stocks directly linked to the performance of professional athletes.

In a statement to ESPN, the company indicated its initial public offering will be for Arian Foster, a Pro Bowl running back with the Houston Texans. As part of the deal, Fantex will pay Foster $10 million for a 20 percent stake in his future income, including money earned from contracts, speaking engagements, endorsements, and other endeavors.

Per a prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, the company aims to sell 1,055,000 shares at a price of $10.00 per share. Should there be "insufficient interest," Fantex reserves the right to cancel the offering.

Don't get too excited just yet, though.

The shares will be sold as tracking stock, Forbes reports. This means shareholders will technically be purchasing ownership in Fantex, Inc., which in turn has a vested interest in advancing the careers of athletes, like Foster.

That also means investors won't have a direct say in Fantex's contract with Foster, the athlete's personal decisions or his personal brand. Personal investors are basically along for the ride, so no scenes à la Jerry Maguire shouting, "Show me the money!"

"If we help grow and build Arian's brand," French explained to USA Today, "that's how we make our money."

Should that brand expand in a meaningful way, investors who bought into the IPO can then try to sell their shares at a higher price. Per the New York Times, Fantex will make a 1 percent commission on trades from both buyers and sellers.

Aside from many other inherent risks in this new venture, The Motley Fool points out that pro athletes aren't exactly the most reliable people on the planet. There's no stopping Foster, or any other celeb offered for trade by Fantex, from making poor life decisions and going broke.

No matter what happens, though, there's no doubting the potential for this to give fantasy football some real-world impact.

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