We are now entering a new era of college sports. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, more commonly known as the NCAA has announced a new NIL policy for college athletes. Starting July 1, college athletes can now make money from brand endorsements by using their name, image, and likeness (NIL). These new guidelines will serve as an interim policy until the NCAA can coordinate with Congress to establish a federal law with clearly defined rules and regulations. Until then, the new guidelines will temporarily suspend the restrictions preventing college athletes from making money off their names.
The interim NIL policy outlines the following guidelines for college athletes, recruits, their families, and member schools:
- Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
- College athletes who attend a school in a state without a NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image, and likeness.
- Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
- Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.
This is going to be a game-changer for the nearly 500,000 NCAA student-athletes, who can now sign sponsorship deals with brands by selling their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights while playing in college. The athletes can get huge exposure from accepting brand deals, monetize their social media channels, and hiring professional agencies to help with management.
With this latest ruling, college athletes can potentially earn $1K-$20K from apparel deals, social media, commercials, and more. Olympic athletes competing on an international level can earn up to $75K, and All-American star athletes might even see opportunities to earn up to half a million. There will be a lot of individual opportunities for athletes to connect with local companies and brands to advertise their products over social media. Athletes with social media following of over 25,000 can make around $600-$1000 per post through paid promotion on their Instagram and Twitter handles.
How will the new NIL rules affect the existing market?
With this new ruling, you can expect there to be overall growth in the market. Marketing and PR agencies, talent agencies, product manufacturers, fulfillment companies, and local businesses will all benefit from this influx of almost 500,000 athletes who will be looking for endorsement opportunities and brand deals. The most significant shift in marketing possibility is that companies can now launch promotional campaigns featuring student athletes of any tier: national, regional, local, or niche sports.
The new NIL rules will increase the pool of desirable brand ambassadors by thousands, providing significant potential for businesses, especially smaller, local companies. Brands will also be well-positioned to cash in on popular events in college athletics when they occur. For example, to generate excitement and engage fan bases more directly, a brand sponsor’s social platforms may offer content with a student-athlete the night before a big game.
Small businesses can sign local college athletes to promote their products and benefit from their popularity. As a local store, imagine having top players from the Baylor men’s basketball team or the Stanford women’s basketball team publish sponsored posts minutes after their championship victories.
PR and talent agencies might have their hands full managing these new clients, who will likely be searching for endorsement deals and looking to create their own personal brands. These agencies will want to get into contracts with star college athletes to effectively publicize them and benefit from their fame.
We will likely see an increase in branded apparel as athletes come into deals with popular sports brands. Other sports-related products such as sports equipment, accessories, and protein powders may also see a rise in sales from endorsements. Manufacturers of such products can benefit from this newfound demand, and logistics companies will profit from the increased order volume for fulfillment.
How can college athletes take advantage of these changes?
As a college athlete, you are now presented with a variety of opportunities to earn money and grow your personal brand. These new prospects might be overwhelming, so you may benefit from seeking the assistance of professional agents and talent management companies to help guide you through these unchartered waters. They are the professionals, and they can help guide you through these uncharted waters.
With online shopping seeing rapid growth year after year, establishing your own e-commerce brand can be a great way to extend your reach. E-commerce sites like Shopify and Etsy make it simple for athletes to capitalize on these revenue generation opportunities.
Here are some important things you will want to keep in mind while setting up an e-commerce business:
- One of the first steps will be setting up a site that will reflect your name and brand. To further engage with fans and consumers, you could tease with product launches and exclusive content.
- You will want to ensure you offer unique goods or services to stand out amongst the other athletes within the market. To find something unique, start by reflecting on your personal interests and what your fans might like to see from you.
- Once you have general direction on your personal brand, you can start investing in creative assets like logo design. Various agencies can provide athletes with much-needed guidance and tools to build their brand identity.
- Marketing and promoting your online store will be another important task. E-commerce platforms like Shopify provide integrations with popular social media sites to create awareness among supporters.
- Email marketing is another useful tool to market your business and incentivize supporters by sharing your stories and promotions directly into their inboxes.
- Stay up to date with your supporters and read their reviews. A strong connection with your customer base can help strengthen your brand and stabilize revenue streams.
- Seek help! There are several professional agencies, marketing consultants, and e-commerce fulfillment companies that can help run your business while you focus on your school and athletics.
If you feel setting up an e-commerce business is too much of a hassle, there are still a multitude of opportunities you can jump on:
- Paid promotions through social media posts on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. can be worth a lot of money and is an easy way to grow your brand.
- Seek out endorsement deals with local businesses. Smaller brands may be looking for a brand ambassador, and you can often find lucrative opportunities by becoming the face of their business.
- Sign apparel deals with known sports brands and profit from the sale of your merchandise.
- Partner with sports camps to provide coaching, training, or lessons. This can be an underrated way of earning a good payoff.
Even with all these new business opportunities arriving at your doorstep, school and athletics will always come first. By leaving the headaches of business handling to industry professionals, you will have more time to focus on matters. At Fulfyld, we have unique services and an extensive partnership network to help grow your brand quickly and efficiently. If you want to learn how you can make the most out of these new opportunities, fill out this form so we can get in touch!