The Future. Name, image, and likeness deals in college sports are transforming how new professional players interact with brands and sponsors. While not every collegiate NIL deal will carry over to the world of pro sports, the practice may give players moving forward the experience to maximize every opportunity from the get-go.
New faces, fresh money
The latest crop of NFL draftees knows a little more about sponsorship deals than any other class before them.
- New players like C.J. Stroud (Houston Texans), Bryce Young (Carolina Panthers), and Bijan Robinson (Atlanta Falcons) are coming into the NFL with millions of dollars in NIL deals from major brands.
- Not only does that let them start the NFL with a lot of money, but also a better understanding of how the high-profile world of pro sponsorships works.
Steve Scebelo, president of the NFL Players Association’s licensing arm, said that “these players have come in with a better grasp as to what we do, how we license their rights and how they can do it individually.” That’s been instrumental at the annual NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere — an event meant to introduce players to the union’s brand partners.
And that’s not lost on the players. Stroud noted that “NIL teaches you professionalism on the field and off. It teaches you how to manage your time and money. It prepares you for what’s to come.”