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Name, Image and Likeness.

You Have a Story to Tell.  If Not Now, When?

If you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you might not know about the NIL deals being cut.  NIL stands for Name, Image and Likeness.  It’s the first-time college athletes are allowed to use their NIL to earn income through marketing and promoting their brand. 

And a freshman for the University of Teas just earned $1.4 Million dollars for his brand before he’s even played a down in the NCAA.  Quinn Ewers is the highest-paid college athlete (as of this writing).  What’s the first thing he did?   What any freshman would do.  Bought himself a burnt orange Aston Martin.   

Olivia Dunne (LSU Gymnast) reported will receive more than $1 Million in part because her brand already exists with 5.7 social media followers

Word on the street is that an unnamed high school football player has signed a deal to pay him $8 Million making it the largest deal to date. 

It’s the beginning of a totally new era in the NCAA but I’m not here to talk about the 2% of pseudo-famous college athletes that will get their pay. 

I believe there is a market for the other 98% of collegiate athletes.   Each athlete has a story to tell. Most of these athletes have been grinding out their perspective sport for most of their lives.  They often times were the best on the team, the best athlete in their grade, and possibly the best in the school.  They’ve been heroes on the field but everyone comes from different backgrounds.  Some have pulled themselves up to the point that they can start to give back to their families, their communities, and issues they are passionate about.  

Whether they grew up in poverty or opulence, they all have a story to tell. Some people will relate and so will companies – with money.   One of the first hurdles to overcome is reality.   Just because Olivia or Quinn got paid, does not mean a middle-of-the-road defensive lineman will. Most of these athletes have had parents, coaches, and students fawning over them since they could dunk the basketball. But now you need to take charge of your own brand.

They need help getting their story written and their brand created.  There are over 460,000 student-athletes in the US so the competition will be fierce. 

 It may not mean big cash money.  You may get paid in goods and services for your time.  There are thousands of local car dealers, restaurants, and healthcare facilities in every market.  In Madison, WI, the entire offensive line was sponsored by Mission BBQ.  Everyone goes home happy and full of BBQ!  

So to all you athletes out there, get your story together.  Think about how you got here and start developing your brand. Write it down.  Consider what you say online and how you say it.  Be mindful of how others see you. 

And to all you companies and charities, consider the value of hitching your wagon to a college athlete even if you aren’t in a college town.   If you’ve given time and money to your favorite University, how much different is it to give back to a non-professional athlete?  Or a group of athletes?  Your brand can benefit greatly by hitching your brand to a good cause.   Hit me up if you are reading this and are interested in learning more about branding your Name, Image, and Likeness.   This new frontier of advertising has only been around for nine months.  It’s the wild west and some people have already started to benefit from it. 

Kirk Wooldridge