Major Play in College Sports: Marketing Name, Image, & Likeness (NIL)

 

This summer marks the beginning of a new era for marketing as college athletes venture into the world of endorsements and sponsorships.  How will this play out on the local level?  How can brands and students connect so that everyone wins?  We’ll shed some light on these new changes and what they can mean for you, whether you are a student or representing a brand.

 

No Longer Earning Nil for NIL

On July 1, 2021, the NCAA Board of Directors voted to approve the NIL Bill.  This bill allows student-athletes to profit from the use of their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL), as professional athletes commonly do.  This can range from showing up for an autograph signing, to appearing in a commercial spot, to accepting endorsements for their social media accounts.  Until this landmark decision, the NCAA had full control over the NIL rights of every student-athlete and prohibited them from earning personal profits.  This policy became increasingly controversial as the universities themselves collected billions of dollars in revenue each year using players’ NIL.  

 

This summer, students can finally reach out for a slice of the pie.  And reach out they have!  July was the start of a frenzy of students considering sponsorships in anticipation of the fall semester.  Now is prime time for brands of all sizes to partner with the most recognizable faces on campus. 

 

Students Are Hitting It Out of the Park

Some students have really hit the ground running, picking up some great sponsorship deals.  Fresno State twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder have taken advantage of their 3.4M TikTok fanbase to land a partnership with Boost Mobile — a nice off-court side hustle for the star guards.  Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has made headlines for his impressive line of lucrative deals, including signing on with CashApp, even though he has yet to compile many meaningful stats on the field.  For star players on high-profile teams, The sky’s the limit on what these endorsements can lead to.

 

What we love most about the adjusted regulations is how they will impact the lives of working student-athletes.  Some of these kids are first-generation college students, whose families have sacrificed tremendously for their opportunity to earn a degree.  The new bill allows these students to generate an income without heavily impacting their school-sports schedule.  

 

One case in point is the partnership made between the Miami Hurricanes and American Top Team, a nationally-esteemed mixed martial arts gym.  Every single member of the football team has been offered a $6,000/year share of the endorsement deal to become a social media influencer.  Seeing years of training, focus, and hard work pay off financially for these students just feels right. 

 

Businesses Score Big

Student-athletes are not the only ones excited about the new regulations.  Local and national brands alike are eager to partner up with the collegiate all-stars.  In Baton Rouge, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux — a local chain of 5 restaurants — partnered with LSU cornerback (and NFL hopeful) Derek Stingley, Jr.  

 

In Fayetteville, Wright’s BBQ — a stand-alone location — signed a deal with 14 of the Razorback offensive linemen, dubbing them “Official Protectors of the Pit,” and “Defenders of Smoke.”  

 

When it comes to partnering with influential student-athletes, there is endless room for creativity.  But how do you choose exactly who will best represent your brand? What is the best strategy to do so? That is where we come in.

 

We Connect Brands to Students

The Campus Agency is here to help you navigate this new era of marketing.  Our long-standing connections give us unparalleled experience in the industry.  We are a trusted name with thousands of campuses across the country and we have a passion for marketing to college students.  Because we live and breathe Gen Z, we have become proficient in negotiating social media pricing and projections.  

 

Seriously, we’ve been waiting our whole lives for this.

 

Athletes: The Campus Agency can open exciting opportunities and match you with brands you would be proud to represent — brands that resonate with your peers.  Get in touch with us before the new semester starts. You can spend less time researching how to pitch and negotiate endorsements, and more time doing what you’ve always dreamed of.

 

Brands: We are as enthusiastic as you are about the new possibilities for marketing with college athletes.  Our creative juices have been flowing since the news hit.  Let us share our ideas with you and shed some light on how deals can be structured for long-term success.  This season’s students will eventually graduate, but The Campus Agency can pair you with great students who are driven for excellence year after year.

 

Don’t go it alone — even the best players need a good coach.  Whether your brand wants to get in touch with some of the brightest up-and-coming influencers, or you are an athlete wondering how to bring your A-game off-field, The Campus Agency is on your team.

 

 

 

 

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