NCAA Rules Change About Compensation May Shake-up the Sports Genre of Podcasts
While there had been a lot of talk and anticipation about the NCAA changing their historical stance on limiting the ability of college athletes to profit off their NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) for quite some time, the modification to the rule recently went into effect due to a US Supreme Court decision. On July 1st, 2021 Division 1 athletes will no longer have any major restrictions on how or if they can profit from their NIL. Previously, athletes would face suspension or lose eligibility if they were found to have violated the rules.
In addition to pouring a little gas on the hotly contested debate surrounding the rule change, this recent announcement opened up the floodgates for brand partnerships, trademarks, official logos and influencer marketing from college athletes.
Two days before the official announcement, Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz revealed a teaser video announcing his new personal logo. While Mertz was the first player to release a trademarked personal logo, he was quickly followed by Oklahoma Sooner Spencer Rattler and Miami’s D’Eriq King.
There are a number of other ways these college athletes can begin making money from their NIL:
- Social media content or ads
- Sponsored highlight videos on YouTube or Twitter
- Training lessons or summer camps
- Autograph or merchandise sales
They can also hire agents to proactively seek out new income streams and sponsorship opportunities.
While no one has been explicitly talking about the opportunities that are now open to college athletes to become podcasters and turn the sports genre on its head — they should be. We predict there will be a boom in the number of new podcast shows hosted by college athletes.
During a proprietary evaluation of our top 10 clients, we examined which genres were generating the best results for our clients. The top 2 genres, in terms of delivering media efficiency and sales, were comedy and sports. The top sports podcast hosts are sports fanatics, analysts, sports writers and some are even former professional athletes. They are captivating and knowledgeable but none of them bring a first-hand perspective with current knowledge of playing college sports. It’s exciting to think about having even more sports podcast inventory to leverage on behalf of our clients. These new shows have the potential to cover brand new topics, attract younger, fresh guests and resonate with both college-aged consumers as well as older audiences that simply love college sports.
There is no denying that top college athletes wield tremendous influence — especially with the tough to reach and highly skeptical Gen Z audience. Top marketers such as Unilever, PetSmart and Boost Mobile have already signed deals with college athletes as influencers and brand ambassadors to try and capture this lightning in a bottle.
When a Digiday reporter asked Unilever VP of Media and Digital Engagement, Rob Master about their interest in partnering with college athletes, he responded with: “It was important for us to look beyond the star players or draft picks, and identify college athletes with untold or overlooked stories about how they’ve dedicated their lives to inspiring others to break limits.”*
Opendorse is an influencer marketing platform designed for this purpose, to connect brands, college athletes and universities together to help navigate these uncharted territories aided by technology.
As these solutions emerge to help monetize the athlete’s influence, we predict that the desire to leverage their influence across other properties beyond social media, like original podcasts, is right around the corner.
Low Cost of Entry
Podcasts have always had a low cost of entry, which is why there has been an explosion of new shows in the last 12 months. In fact, there are over 2M podcasts and 48M individual episodes as of April 2021.**. Seemingly anyone with a microphone and a dream can start a podcast. And while this may be true, it is always beneficial to have access to some professional grade recording and editing equipment. The college athletes now have the full support of their universities and also have access to everything that a college campus can offer — this includes recording equipment and facilities, editing software, tech support, high speed internet and an endless supply of interesting guests. The athlete’s insider knowledge coupled with the potential for them to deliver shows with high-production quality is a recipe for success.
With this most recent rule change being called “the biggest change to college athletics since … well, possibly ever.”***, we are truly at the very beginning of understanding the potential impact on the media landscape and advertising potential for brands. We are excited to help our clients navigate the future.