Skip to main content

As we wrap up the 2022 year of college athlete NIL rights, I find it best not to do a year in review like everyone else but rather a year in preview. The landscape is changing daily, and to look backward may be interesting, but it is old news. Let’s look forward.

College athletic programs are starting to get their proper footing. What was once a brand-new market filled with unknowns is now part of every college athletic department’s agenda. We no longer have to explain the value of sustaining a robust NIL environment to administrators. They had no choice but to educate themselves in a new world where the college athlete finally gets a piece of the pie. And trust me when I say that pie is big and delicious.

Even athletes are now beginning to understand that NIL is not just for the top revenue-generating athletes. The numbers don’t lie. Value is subjective. One athlete’s $50 social media post might mean as much to them as the Mercedes deal given to another. A window of opportunity exists, and athletes open it and inhale fresh air.

Brands are now more than ever plunging into NIL as they recognize the value student-athletes bring by promoting them across their social channels. The student-athlete creator obtains an average engagement of at least 5,000 views per video aggregated across their social channels without “viral outliers.” These views cultivate genuine relationships with their audience and build brand awareness.

Looking into 2023, we anticipate businesses and brands will increase their influencer marketing spending using collegiate athletes due to undeniable numbers. Comparable to the TV revenue increases over the past few decades, we will see this increase in the digital marketing space–and athletes will benefit!

The last faction to embrace NIL is the fan. Most fan bases don’t know what to make of NIL just yet. Some bark out that NIL will destroy college sports. Others think NIL stands for “Now It’s Legal.” But most are in the dark about how NIL affects them. As university collectives grow (and more organizations license PlayBooked technology to power them), fans are starting to realize their unprecedented direct access to athletes through live video chats, shoutouts, and personal appearances. We had one collective book more than $7,000 in shoutouts after a big win against a rival–that’s a lot of paid athletes and happy fans!

Next year, the schools will begin to promote their collectives (which is permissible), and we anticipate a massive increase in fan engagement. Fans can now subscribe to their favorite collectives and get invited to meet and greets and other perks involving fan engagement.

Game on!