Are you confused about what you’ve heard regarding college athletes and what is necessary to land NIL deals? After the NCAA permitted college athletes to monetize their name, image, and likenesses (NIL), it became a controversial topic partly due to the myths swirling around the concept. While there are regulations at the state level and university policies to comply with, college athletes now have an option that can open doors for them and the brands they partner with. Unfortunately, some athletes may miss out on opportunities due to misunderstandings about NIL. Let’s take a look at a few myths.
Large Corporations Are Mostly Behind Big NIL College Partnerships
False. Partnerships that included the entire team roster were the exception for having large price tags when signing a deal. Now, brands may choose to partner with players they think have significant value for a partnership. While it is common to see large corporations spending big money on college athlete sponsorships, NIL opportunities happen, no matter the size.
A personality with a high profile may have a high price tag when considered for marketing purposes. A personality with a low profile could still make a significant impact with a negotiable deal. Deals can be small and localized when targeting specific markets, even though more attention is still possible with high-end NIL opportunities.
NIL Athletes Have to Be Social Media Influencers
False. Some athletes have a following before obtaining a deal, while others gain a following after working with a brand. While it may help to have a following on social media, getting a deal is more than just about getting followers. NIL deals can help develop athletes in other areas related to their sports interests. Besides endorsing products, they can consider entrepreneurial opportf nil athletes unities such as giving private lessons or starting a business.
Athletes from Big Cities Have a Better Advantage
False. While many college athletes play for prominent colleges and universities from big cities, they are not the only ones landing NIL opportunities. It is common for brands to attract athletes from big cities due to more significant followings, but many large followings expand across different cities and states. For example, college football cities such as Cincinnati and Houston have many fans, not just because the teams play for large cities, but because their fan base expands outside each city. The same is true for athletes from smaller towns and colleges. College athletes from small cities have had great success with NIL deals. However, some marketing experts think schools from larger cities could be disadvantaged since professional athletes also dominate the same market.
Only Football and Basketball Players Qualify for NIL Deals
False. The type of sport an athlete plays may be a factor in the partnership, but audience relevance and fitting in with the brand are also significant factors. While many of the previous NIL partnerships were initiated through college football players, today opportunities are available for athletes performing in a variety of different sports. It is expected that more athletes from diverse sports backgrounds will start to build partnerships with brands in the coming years as brands look to expand their outreach and explore creative marketing trends. Part of this is due to social media marketing trends, which are expected to grow in popularity and demand within the next few years, including creating opportunities for college athlete influencers and brand endorsements.
When you look at different products and services using influencer marketing, they advertise and promote things that people from different sports backgrounds can benefit from. Sure, NIL deals may include many football and basketball players, but consumer engagement increases greatly when players of other sports are involved including soccer, tennis, and swimming to name a few. Athletes with NIL opportunities may follow their passion or interest connected to the brand or product they market.
Professional Athletes Are More Influential than Student Athletes
False. A brand targeting a specific age group with a product may find it more suitable to use a student-athlete. Brands do this on a national and local scale. The athlete’s age can make a difference and create a genuine response from the target audience. Audiences respond to marketing more favorably when brands use athletes who are relevant to the product. Professional and college athletes bring different elements to the table, making their appeal to audiences vary.
NIL is for Popular Athletes
False. Some may think they have to be a star athlete to monetize deals, but this is not true. It is common for star athletes to get NIL opportunities. But, many athletes are great at what they do in their own right and likely would get earnings from their deal regardless. Brands work with athletes that help create a connection between consumers and their products. ALso, which means brands and athletes establishing an interest outside of the athlete’s sport. NIL athletes have personal and professional goals they hope to achieve while forming partnerships with brands of similar interests.