College athletes are no longer just 'student athletes'. One year ago, the landscape completely changed. That is when the 'student athletes' began to profit off of themselves through name, image and likeness rules while partnering with brands. Brands have found opportunities and creative ways to tap into college athletes, as they connect them with consumers. The first year of the NIL era reached a total of $917 million according to data from Opendorse, an NIL platform. This year, it’s predicted to reach $1.14 billion.
the NIL Season has kicked off!
As students returned to campus this fall, marketers are taking no time off and rushing at the opportunity to work with up-and-coming athletes. While every brand has their own strategies, the end goal of NIL deals is to connect with diverse sports fans and find new customers.
fast food and alabama football
Krystal, a southeastern fast-food chain just signed 30 athletes across sports and colleges, anchored by University of Alabama linebackers Will Anderson and Henry To’oTo’o.
chipotle gets into the game
Last year, Chipotle signed University of Connecticut basketball player Azzi Fudd and University of Georgia softball player Jaiden Fields. This year, they are focusing on the Ohio State football team. Columbus is a prime market for them because of the restaurant support center located there.
hooters 'lines up' their strategy
In April, Hooters of America signed a deal with golfer John Daly and his son John Daly II, who plays on the University of Arkansas golf team. Last month, Hooters also signed 51 offensive linemen from universities including LSU, Georgia Tech, University of Miami, and Auburn.
great way to reach a more diverse audience
As NIL deals become all the rage, brands look to reach a more diverse audience. Specifically, female athletes from sports like gymnastics, soccer and golf. Not only will brands reach a new demographic but women have some of the highest engagement rates, according to a survey by Captiv8 Collegiate, an NIL platform.
Reaching out to athletes is easier than ever. As simple as a direct message on Instagram can start a fruitful relationship. However, navigating different state and university NIL laws can be a hassle for brands, Even so, the opportunities the NIL deals bring may be worth the time and effort with uncovering all the red tape.
Carolina Macedo, the author. is Project Coordinator of Marketing Keys.