The buzz around the NCAA and the recent change to how athletes can now be compensated for their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) is more than deserved. This doesn’t just mean big things for athletes - it means big things for marketers, too.
Our Cleveland-headquartered marketing agency was happy to share our team’s opinion on the matter through a recent interview with Crain's Cleveland Business
. thunder::tech's president, Jason Therrien had this to say:
"From an agency perspective, it's yet another outlet for brands to explore in a variety of promotional ways," said Jason Therrien, the president of thunder::tech, a Cleveland integrated marketing agency with offices in Chicago and Detroit.
For some companies, going into business with a college athlete will be "a diversification play," Therrien said.
"Some of this," he added, "is spinning a roulette wheel and seeing if you can get lucky with the right athlete and catch lightning in a bottle."
The opportunities for brands to work with NCAA athletes are plentiful. Social media is already proving to be a successful avenue for college athletes to grow a following and position themselves as influencers. Brands are already getting onboard with this approach and signing athletes as ambassadors on TikTok and Instagram.
In local markets, companies have the opportunity to secure athletes as a spokesperson or more simply, someone that can draw crowds to their facility or event through meet and greets, autograph sessions and the like.
Student athletes that bring not only their athletic prowess, but also charisma and personality will be the ones that see the most success. Those with social media followings that they have already grown and curated will be the most marketable to brands. This is a point that is agnostic to the sport they play or the size of their school, giving athletes in division two, three and beyond an equal shot at sponsorship.
Marketers can align by topic, by sport, by school, by social following and by a range of other categories that will come to light over the next year. Ultimately, it's yet another opportunity for marketers to get their brands out in front.
Check out the full article regarding the NCAA name, image and likeness changes and how it will impact marketing.