NIL is needed
Only 2% of high school athletes become Division I college athletes and less than 2% of these elite athletes become professional athletes. Even after you land the professional contract, many top college picks flame out in the professionals. For example, Sam Bowie was picked ahead of Michael Jordan, played as a journeyman for about a decade, averaging about 11 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. He now races horses in Lexington, Kentucky.
Many of these athletes go on to do things post athletic career that most of the time have nothing to do with their sport. Michael Strahan, for example, who played for the New York Giants for 15 seasons, became a TV personality appearing on shows like Live!, Good Morning America, and the $100,000 Pyramid.
Most retiring college athletes that do not receive a professional contract may be starting from square one without the right training, internships, or connections. How can a student athlete who is performing at close to the elite level focus on these job preparation extracurriculars as well as athletics at the same time? In addition, many of these athletes from secondary sports or that did not receive athletic scholarships might need to pick up jobs to pay for day to day expenses. The new NCAA NIL ruling from earlier this year allows student athletes to make money off of their name, image, and likeness may change all of this.
For example, Will Ulmer, the Marshall offensive lineman, can cultivate his music career, SMU defensive back Ra-Sun Kazadi can sell his art, Nebraska’s Lexi Sun can design apparel with Ren Athletics apparel company, and Ulmer’s teammate Kyron Taylor can start his own clothing line, Foreigner Clothing LLC. Prior to the NIL ruling, these athletes would not be able to make money utilizing their names. Today they can. These side hustles not only help these entrepreneurs capitalize on their fame, but also teaches them the ins and outs of running their own business, an education that is typically lacking at many colleges and universities.
Building a brand
Most student athletes looking to capitalize on NIL can see the quick money in sponsorships, endorsements, and advertising, but creating a brand can lead to longer term value and less volatility of earnings which is typically tied to your performance. To create a brand that you are able to promote like Kylie Jenner’s Kylie cosmetic line leads to an entity that is able to be bought, sold, and make money without your constant labor and attention, while the “quick money” requires you to work to earn. Jenner is able to “make money while [she] sleeps”; Coty bought a controlling portion of the company at nearly a billion dollar valuation.
The sponsorship direction can be lucrative, but you are at the whim of the brand. US Sprinter Allyson Felix got into a contract dispute with her sponsor Nike over her pregnancy and, like Jenner, realized that ownership was the only way. She launched her brand Saysh right before the Olympics that made her the most decorated American in track and field history.
Many new tools, including Famecast Merch, allow you to not have to hold inventory like Kyron Taylor does. “I live by myself so I can have storage for my brand,” he said. However, some products don’t allow for the expense of holding inventory. Famecast Merch creates the product when they are ordered so there’s no need to hold inventory, and thus no need to ever mark down to make way for new products.
However, if you aren’t into merchandising, other Famecast tools like livestreaming can help performers like Ulmer expand his audience beyond those in West Virginia and make money while doing so. Similarly, Famecast’s NFT platform can help artists like Kazadi sell their art digitally without the hassle of authentication, transportation, and handling.
As an influencer or student athlete, what other ways can we help you monetize your NIL? Are there any “offbeat” ways that you are finding to make money using your NIL like the athletes above? How can we help you with the technology so you can focus on your craft? Let us know by emailing us!