A new era is upon us!
The long-awaited and anticipated era provides college athletes, not just universities and corporations, the ability to generate a profit from their talents and hard work. The new ruling (NIL) allows for collegiate athletes to profit from their Name, Image, and Likeness.
In just a few short weeks we have seen an explosion of college athletes signing endorsement deals, creating partnerships to sell merchandise, and generating partnerships via social media influence.
While this news is exciting, just having superior athletic talent won’t be enough to truly capitalize on this momentous opportunity. There are almost 500,000 NCAA student-athletes who can now sign endorsement and sponsorship deals. While there are many variables that will determine an athlete's ability to monetize on the new NIL ruling, it is going to be vital for college athletes to have a strategy on how to fully utilize the new NCAA NIL ruling to their advantage.
After extensive research and conversations with other sports marketing agencies, we have identified 5 ways college athletes can take advantage of the new NCAA NIL ruling.
With the new NIL ruling, growing a brand is a must for college athletes. A college athlete's brand as an athletic performer, a student-athlete, and lifestyle matter more now than any other time in college athletics.
Whenever I consult with college athletes I express, with passion and enthusiasm, that this is the most ideal time to be an elite college athlete. The opportunities that the new NCAA NIL ruling will bring are endless. While there is so much unknown about the ruling and potential possibilities, it makes it even more important to build a strong athlete brand. College athletes can now build a brand and reputation that will differentiate them from the hundreds of other college athletes that are also looking to capitalize on this new opportunity.
Now more than ever, college athletes have the ability to create unique and innovative approaches to increase fan support, thus developing a loyal fan base that will increase engagement. This development of loyal fan bases has a direct impact on a college athlete's value and potential future opportunities for endorsements, sponsorships, and merchandise sales.
It is important for fans to be able to follow, interact, engage, and keep up to date with their favorite athletes and teams. But fans want more! They want to feel connected and part of an exclusive club. They want engagement back. They want to feel like they really know who the athlete is; on the court, in the classroom, and in life.
While there is still a lot of unknowns about NIL, the one thing we know is that deals are being made. Both male and female athletes, in multiple sports, are signing sponsorship and endorsement deals.
In a statement made to ESPN, Boost Mobile CEO stated that “Boost will be making deals that could range from annual contracts worth large sums of money to in-kind deals where Boost provides college athletes with free cell phones and service plans in exchange for promoting the company on social media.”
Companies are actively looking to make deals of all sizes and college athletes don’t need to be All Americans or have 100k+ social media followers to monetize from their brand.
NCAA college athletes have a built-in loyal fan base that is tightly connected to the University: including fellow students, alumni, the local community, and general sports fans. These fans are heavily invested in their teams and have a strong desire to be connected to their favorite players.
With the new NCAA NIL ruling, college athletes can now utilize this tremendous platform to monetize their brand and provide their fans with what they want:
I am saving the best for last!
Of all the various ways that college athletes can take complete advantage of the new NCAA NIL ruling, I believe that creating momentum for their future will potentially have the biggest impact on their long-term success, both monetary and in terms of impact.
There is a small percentage of athletes that will turn pro, fewer than 2% of college student-athletes will go on to play professional sports (at any level, for any amount of time). To put it into perspective, 98% of college athletes will go pro in something else (you have probably seen the NCAA commercials) and this makes it even more apparent for college athletes to create a brand, share their story, and differentiate themselves from the hundreds of other student-athletes.
So no matter what an athlete does after they complete their career as a college athlete, developing, building, and sharing their brand can have a tremendous impact on their future. It doesn’t matter if a college athlete is one of the blessed 2% that plays a pro sport or if they go pro in something other than sports, the 98%. Building and sharing an athlete brand will help create opportunities in the future.
The play you make today can turn into a money-making opportunity with the right online business tactics to amplify your platform.
Work With Us:
With SCI’s athlete branding expertise, we will work side by side with you to develop and grow your brand to maximize fan awareness and loyalty, create a perceived value based on your performance on the court/field and your persona of the court/field; and create strong, favorable, unique partnerships.
Schedule a FREE strategy session with a former college basketball player at Arizona State University, former pro athlete, and SCI creations Athlete Branding Expert and CEO to discuss how you can optimize your platform and talents to get the most out of the new opportunities available for college athletes.