Marketers go to college to recruit brand ambassadors
College athletes have been fast off the blocks in making endorsement deals with a variety of brands and retailers following the unanimous ruling last week by the The Supreme Court that NCAA rules limiting what students can earn in education related benefits (think scholarships, computers, et al) was unconstitutional.
Deals with student athletes were being announced within a day of the court deciding that student athletes had the constitutional right to receive financial support for their educational endeavors in exchange for their names, images and likenesses (NIL).
Antwan Owens, a student who plays defensive end for Jackson State’s football team, was reported by Sports Illustrated to be the first to sign an endorsement deal. Mr. Owens and 3 Kings Grooming, a black-owned hair product company, made history with a midnight ceremony in New York City.
Mr. Owens is coached by Deion Sanders, someone who knows something about endorsement deals. He was one of five players on the Jackson State team to make deals with 3 Kings Grooming. Financial terms of the agreements have not been disclosed.
Hanna and Haley Cavinder, twin sisters who play basketball for the Fresno State women’s basketball team, were among the early high-profile student athletes using their NIL. The sisters, who have a following of 3.3 million on TikTok, inked an endorsement deal with Boost Mobile.
The Cavinder sisters’ agreement with the mobile phone service provider is seen as a key case as concerns have been raised around whether female athletes and others from outside Division 1 powerhouse conferences would have access to NIL offers to support their pursuit of higher education.
Boost Mobile, which had the Cavinders as a key endorsement target, is planning such deals with more than 400 other athletes on its list. The company began reaching out to those students yesterday, according to Yahoo Sports.
“This isn’t just about blue-chip athletes coming in and sort of trying to get them before [they get to] the NBA or NFL,” said Boost Mobile CEO Stephen Stokols. “This is about all athletes. And every athlete in every sport in every type of school has an opportunity to really create value for themselves.”
- National Collegiate Athletic Association v Alston Et Al. – The U.S. Supreme Court
- Explainer: The NCAA and the impact of NIL compensation – The Washington Post
- Jackson State DE Signs Historic Midnight Endorsement Deal as NIL Floodgates Open – Sports Illustrated
- Cavinder twins sign endorsement with Boost Mobile on NIL day, showing female athletes have plenty to gain – Yahoo Sports
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see NIL endorsement deals becoming a bigger element of brand and retailer marketing efforts? How should brands and retailers approach making such deals?