Negotiating NIL Sponsorship Deals with College Athletes: Part One

Ashley Landers
Ashley LandersPrincipal / Chief Executive Officer
Art of Negotiating an NIL Deal: Part One

Texas Creative recently helped our clients at Davis Law Firm secure a big win by negotiating an NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deal with the University of Texas’s star quarterback, Quinn Ewers. Negotiating NIL sponsorship deals with college athletes not only requires a true understanding of the athlete's value, but it involves relationship building with sponsors and navigating the unique landscape of collegiate athletics.

Here are five smart plays to make:

Understand the Rules and Regs. 

The last thing you want is a flag on the play. So, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the NCAA and other relevant governing body rules regarding NIL deals. Rules may vary, and compliance is key.

Know Their Worth. 

You’ve got to assess your target athlete’s value. Start by evaluating their reach, influence, and engagement on social media platforms. Consider their on-field performance, popularity, and overall image. Get a firm understanding of the athlete’s target audience and the potential impact on a sponsor's brand.

The Art of Negotiation. 

Be prepared to broker the terms, including compensation, duration of the partnership, exclusivity clauses, and specific obligations from both parties. Consider the athlete's current and potential future market value.

Legally Speaking. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a good idea to seek solid legal advice to ensure that the negotiated deals comply with NCAA regulations and other relevant laws. Contracts should clearly define the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Bend and Flex. 

Be adaptable and willing to adjust terms based on the evolving landscape of NIL regulations and the athlete's career trajectory.

TXC team with DLF and Quinn

Remember, the collegiate NIL landscape is fairly new territory that’s going to continue to change over time. So, staying informed about rule changes and industry trends is crucial for successful negotiations. It's also important to approach negotiations with transparency and integrity to ensure positive outcomes for everyone.

Keep in mind, it’s in your best interest to not only work with athletes who are represented by a Marketing and Management Agency like Quinn’s at Rubicon Talent, who help manage accountability and facilitate communication, but also to work with a knowledgeable agency – like Texas Creative, wink wink –  that has experience in sponsorship and endorsement negotiations and execution.

Visit TXC's YouTube to see Jeff and Quinn in action!