In 2021, individual college athletes gained the opportunity to profit off their names, images and likenesses in landmark policy changes from the NCAA and in state laws. NIL regulations opened the door for student-athletes to partner with brands for endorsements; host branded training camps; and sell merchandise, autographs and more.
The changes come after a decade of debate that began with Ed O’Bannon, a former UCLA college basketball player, suing EA Sports over using his likeness in a video game. The ruling, which determined that EA Sports had violated antitrust laws, began to break down the NCAA’s rules that prevented players from profiting from their own names, images and likenesses.
Today, the NIL landscape is truly the Wild West as brands, teams and players scramble to create partnerships and explore new possibilities. From NIL collectives and agencies that sign entire teams to individual athletes partnering with agents, approaches to the NIL game are endless.
For brands, new NIL laws represent a completely untapped pool of potential influencers, and chances are there’s a partner who could be a great fit to promote what your brand is about. But how do you get in the game? Check out these five tips for approaching the NIL game as a brand.