Taylor: Registration in the new NIL market

Taylor: Registration in the new NIL market

A year after the start of a massive new branch of the sports marketing industry, it’s time to check how it’s going.

In July 2021, the United States Supreme Court opened the door for former amateur college athletes to start making money from their “name, image, and likeness” (or NIL) — all things that go into the marketing and branding around our sports heroes.

For any college athlete, monetizing their NIL is a mathematical product of their skills in their sport and their ability to grow social media platforms, typically Instagram and Twitter. In addition, it is assumed, their physical appearance. We will undoubtedly experience “Anna Kournikovas” – athletes who are more famous for their appearance than for their championships.

Universities have responded to this new market opportunity with Mad Men’s fervor, fearful of losing valuable recruits if they don’t support lucrative opportunities for their student-athletes. Every varsity and intercollegiate league has struggled over the past year to define the conditions under which athletes can earn money.

Student-athletes who aspire to compete at the college level, meanwhile, spend their high school years developing an Instagram account specifically to attract college coaches and recruiters. This same account can now be flipped in an effort to attract a larger audience that will turn these athletes into marketable spokespersons for the products. It is a brave and rapidly developing new world of marketing.

READ MORE: Taylor: With current law and state law, college athletics are ready to enter the open market

One source of funding is the ‘NIL collectives’ which function much like alumni athletic booster clubs. The University of Texas at Austin was quick to announce a $10 million commitment for athletes based on this model.

Another approach is through university-sponsored online marketplaces, where companies and individuals can contract directly with athletes for sponsorships, autographs, video shoutouts, or personal appearances.

In the Texas Longhorns NIL market, you will find a wide range of options.

Services, prices

For athletes with a at least social media platform, the cost of autographs, appearances and video signings starts at $11. While athletes’ Instagram followers number in the tens of thousands, these services cost $80 or $200. At the higher end of the spectrum, seven UT athletes command $2,500 for the same services. Unsurprisingly, since it’s Texas, all of them are men playing football. Interestingly, late-season starting quarterback Quinn Ewers looked like a bargain at $320 per video shoutout compared to early-season quarterback Hudson Card at $1,000 per shoutout.

Texas A&M University, meanwhile, recently boasted of more than $4 million in student payments since legalizing NIL payments.

It’s a timely column as you can all try to get autographs, video shoutouts, personal appearances, or just bid on more student-athlete interactions just in time for Christmas. You simply send them a note online and negotiate the terms directly.

RELATED: UTSA’s Frank Harris and Other Texas College Athletes Talk Impact of NIL Agreements

Which athletes are likely to make big money?

Topping the list of future Texan athletes is UT quarterback Arch Manning, grandson of Archie, nephew of Peyton and Eli — all members of New Orleans’ famed soccer royals. Arch arrives next fall as a major quarterback rookie from UT and, well, his NIL possibilities are nearly limitless.

With just two Instagram posts and just 132,000 followers, his famous pedigree will make him one of the most marketable athletes in Texas and the country.

Axios recently ranked Arch’s NIL potential as the second highest in the nation at $3.4 million, second only to California high school basketball student Lebron James’ son.

Old and new challenges

A brief historical interlude on sports and money: In September, some friends and I visited the quaint town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, named after an early 20th-century sports god I had never visited. heard of before.

Thorpe grew up as a member of the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma. He won Olympic gold in the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912, setting a record in the latter that stood for two decades. After the Olympics, Thorpe played professional baseball between 1913 and 1919. In 1920, he played professional football for the league that became the NFL in 1922. He was Bo Jackson before Bo Jackson, the all-sports star . Contemporaries considered him the greatest athlete in the world – for decades.

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I remember this because Thorpe’s Olympic gold medals were taken away in 1913 because he had received a few dollars playing semi-professional baseball in 1910, before entering the Olympics.

We have a puritanical history of “amateurism” fetishism in sport and I am personally happy to drop this unfair farce and see the NIL market grow. When college coaches are the highest paid public sector employees in Texas — $7.5 million for the A&M head coach, $5.5 million for the UT head coach — he has always seemed weird and hypocritical not to pay anything to student-athletes.

Could there be some small downsides to the explosion of this NIL market? Yes.

One clear problem is addressed in a legal journal article titled “The NIL Glass Ceiling”. Seeing that 75% of NIL collectives distribute funds to men’s soccer teams and that five times as much NIL money goes to men than women, we have a new gender imbalance in money dedicated to college sports.

This presents a challenge to Title IX law, which requires rough parity between men’s and women’s collegiate sports. This rule is still in place for sports scholarships and sports recruiting costs. But there is so much potential marketing money at stake that this gender imbalance poses a real threat to the Title IX regime. The law and the colleges will have to adapt to the new reality.

RELATED: Why widespread student debt cancellation is a bad idea

Meanwhile, it’s not new NIL, but it seems related: Caesars Entertainment, the casino and sports betting company, has signed marketing deals with Michigan State and Michigan State University. Louisiana. They say their advertisements for gambling inside sports stadiums will target alumni rather than underage students attending the games. Ha ha. Links with sports betting companies were also taboo, but now also completely broken.

No, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Well, of course, the University of Kansas has opened a unique official NIL Marketplace to help its athletes maximize their opportunities as well.

I’m not in the business of career advice, but if I was an older character in “The Graduate,” I’d slip next to a 22-year-old marketing student at the pool party and whisper to him “I have an acronym for you, my son: ‘NIL’.

Michael Taylor is a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, author of “The Financial Rules for New College Graduates” and host of the “No Hill for a Climber” podcast.

michael@michaelthesmartmoney.com| twitter.com/michael_taylor

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