LeBron James has turned a slice of Blaze Pizza into roughly a $35 million stake.
According to ESPN, James, along with his business partner and financial adviser made an investment in the pizza chain for less than $1 million in 2012. James’ nearly 10-percent stake in the company is now worth $35 million to $40 million thanks in part to James becoming a Blaze Pizza spokesman in 2015.
For James, success breeds success outside of the sports world as well. The fast-casual chain Blaze Pizza is one of the fastest growing food chains in North America.
“LeBron and I have always been about finding companies that we truly believe in and putting real money into them,” James’ business partner Maverick Carter said, via ESPN. “We’re not talking putting in $15,000 or $20,000. It’s real money plus the expertise, understanding and knowledge that we bring, as well as bringing LeBron’s name and likeness to the product.”
James and Carter turned another investment into nearly $30 million when Beats by Dre sold to Apple for $3 billion in 2014. Surprisingly, James might be able to double his Beats by Dre profit as Blaze Pizza has a goal of opening 1,000 stores and $1 billion in sales by 2022.
“We don’t typically advocate for our clients to invest in food businesses,” James’ financial adviser Paul Wachter said. “The risk-reward equation is not generally that great, and there’s a lot of grinding and blocking and tackling and it takes a while for a concept to go global.”
With just over 200 stores created in four years, Blaze Pizza was recently valued at $250 million.