Student-Athletes Name, Image, Likeness Deals: The Lesson For All of Us

Following on our last blog regarding the NCAA clearing of student-athletes to pursue name, image and likeness (NIL) deals, we want to talk about why this makes sense to major corporations and the lesson for each of us.

We’ve already discussed why student-athletes are so excited about this new potential, but why are large corporations taking time out of their day to pay attention to students who, outside of their particular sport, may not have a big enough name yet to raise eyebrows?

The world has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. We may not give enough credit to the degree of which we live differently than we did in the 90s or early 2000s. 

Imagine telling someone in 1999 that in most parts of the world whistling down a cab is no longer commonplace, and rather, we Uber instead. 

Try asking somebody in 2001 how many followers they have on Instagram or who their favorite social media influencer is? They’d think you were speaking some sort of alien language!

No longer are large corporations solely interested in the LeBron James and Tiger Woods of the world. We live in a world where someone’s name might not mean much in day-to-day conversations, but are commonly known on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

These up-and-coming student-athletes are not only of interest to corporations for the future considerations when they (may) dominate their respective sport, but many these young stars already have millions upon millions of followers.

This means that organizations like Boost Mobile, who recently signed Hanna and Haley Cavinder to big deals as we covered in our last blog, have an immediate vested interest and can see short-term as well as long-term potential in these student-athletes. 

In other words, they may greatly benefit from the long-term gain in signing these athletes while they’re young, but they don’t need to wait a handful of years for their investments to pay off.

If a large company signs a student-athlete to a lucrative deal, and said company then gets promoted in front of millions upon millions of said student’s followers—well—it’s safe to say the investment may pay for itself sooner rather than later! 

Here’s the big point and the lesson for all of us: 

These corporations aren’t backing these student-athletes out of the goodness of their hearts. 

They aren’t seeing the spark in the eyes of these young athletes and have suddenly decided to offer a helping hand. 

Similarly, these students aren’t promoting brands because they have any type of particular loyalty to the company. It’s the dollar signs that make them willing to do so.

In any business deal, each party is looking out for their own particular interests. Sure, some business deals are truly win-win, but in most cases, each side is doing what they can to get the “better end of the stick,” and often one does! 

If you’re involved—or will be involved—in any type of business transaction, whether it be a collaboration, acquisition, merger, or sale of an organization, you need the legal help to ensure you’re not entering an arrangement that leaves you worse off

Often, the “little details” and “fine print” can contain huge points of contention that businesses only become aware of after the deal has been secured and gone through.

Get in touch with us if this is an area you need support in.