NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) is a burgeoning market for college athletes and relates to merch in more ways than one. Merch not only has the power to earn athletes money, but help set them up for future success.
Having control of your name, image and likeness is a powerful thing. College athletes have been shut out of these rights for too long. Legislation has only recently started to turn the tide in favor of college athletes.
NIL rights allow athletes to express themselves, build a brand and make a profit. College athletes are now considered a singular voice with the ability to make decisions in THEIR best interest.
Learn how Spreadshop is empowering athletes to take control of their image while saying something worthwhile!
What is NIL?
NIL gives college athletes the chance to take advantage of professional athlete opportunities. They weren’t able to endorse products or accept sponsorship deals before. Newly passed legislation will finally allow college athletes the right to earn compensation and brand themselves like the pros do.
With NIL rights, athletes decide how they want to market themselves. The college no longer holds all the cards and can stifle their voice. It’s up to these college athletes to rep what they’re passionate about.
Owning your name, image and likeness is crucial for a professional or would-be professional athlete. But what does that mean? How do you own yourself?
NIL allows students to step in the spotlight. A student athlete doing commercials for a chain restaurant, a student athlete wearing a brand’s clothing on Instagram in a sponsored post, a student athlete creating their own merch and selling it to their fans. These are all the things a student athlete can do that relate to their name and image.
NIL allows athletes to express themselves and earn some money, but at the end of the day, it’s about building a brand. The deals these athletes now can impact their professional standing for years to come. And they don’t even have to still be playing sports.
College Students Can Build Their Brand Now
What if there was a more personal and direct way for athletes to grow their brand? That’s where print on-demand merch comes in. Athletes can earn a percentage of the profits when they launch their own fashion brand through e-commerce merch sites.
Spreadshop is leading the way in the print on-demand space through official partnerships with NoCapSports and Fanword. These partnerships aim to educate student athletes and guide them as they launch merch for the first time.
Merch development is a fun and creative process, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be profitable. When you market it that right way, merch is an essential brand builder. Spreadshop is a free and easy option that creators, businesses and now athletes can use to develop their merch line. It’s valuable in helping fans new and old alike understand who you are and what you stand for.
Your brand is how people will come to identify you. The increase in NIL opportunities has signaled an emphasis on branding to build a career. College athletes no longer have to hide behind the symbols of their college – they can create their own.
Merch sets college athletes up for life-changing and money-making opportunities.
How College Athletes Are Making Money With Merch
Restaurant and car dealership deals are standard for locally renowned athletes, and are a natural entry point. But sometimes athletes just need to have complete ownership of their name. They need to be the one making the decisions.
Merch allows college athletes to market directly to their fans and create a close bond with them. It’s an engaging and interactive process that makes both parties feel represented. NIL rights allow college athletes the chance to build a merch brand. A merch brand gives athletes power and professional backing. That might sound like a lofty thing, but it means a lot in an industry associated with uncertainty and instability.
Less than 2% of college football players will go pro, so what are the options for those that don’t? NIL relates to merch in that it puts a plan in place for an athletes’ future while they’re still in school. They’ll learn how to market themselves and figure out what they have to offer, whether that’s in sports or not.
Merch is more than just promoting an athlete and their brand, though. It also helps to raise awareness of important issues.
More Than Just an Athlete
Tre Tipton has been through a lot on and off the football field. The Pitt athlete has endured depression, suicidal thoughts and serious injuries. But the love of the game helped pull him through and reignited a new purpose for him.
Tipton founded L.O.V.E. (Living Out Victoriously Everyday), a program that helps “empower, provide hope and build a community for collegiate student-athletes who are dealing with mental, emotional, and physical struggles.” Tipton wants to help other people dealing with similar experiences and break down the stigma behind mental health, especially in sports. His newly launched merch line is a great way to raise awareness.
“Adversity is a comma in the sentence of life, not a period.”
This is just one of the inspiring quotes you can find on Tipton’s merch. He’s more than just an athlete: he’s a motivator and mentor. His merch is more than just growing HIS brand. It’s about creating a community and letting other athletes know they’re not alone in their struggles.
NIL just doesn’t relate to merch in a business sense, but in a deeply personal sense, too. It has the power to boost an athlete’s brand and confidence, and create meaningful conversations.
Open your Spreadshop today to start putting your voice above the noise on the field!