Athletes are continuing to step further into the creator space, partnering with brands in their efforts to take advantage of influencer marketing.
These deals don’t happen without facilitation, which is where companies like Postgame come in.
Postgame, the world’s leading NIL agency, is managing some of the top NIL campaigns in all of college sports. The company boasts 60,000 athletes on its platform to recruit for deals. Athletes opt-in, then Postgame provides the brand with a list of athletes, sorted by athlete value.
Postgame’s goal is to democratize the NIL space, so that even smaller-scale athletes are receiving opportunities.
Athletes who are inking NIL deals aren’t full-time creators. They’re athletes and students first, which is why assistance on the creation side is a must when trying to juggle it all.
“We offer help on the content creation side of things to help these athletes share their stories, engage with their audience in unique ways, and create the best content possible,” Aaron Hackett, dIrector of athlete relations at Postgame, told The NIL Deal in a recent interview.
Deals of this nature not only financially benefit the student-athletes who produce high-quality content, but the brands that are investing in them as well.
“I think the sheer amount of content that’s coming in is really helping brands, because not only is it top of the funnel awareness, but brands are able to reuse and repurpose that content on their social page,” said Hackett. “That’s one thing that a lot of brands are looking for — authentic, user generated content on their social platforms.”
One of the most recent deals that Postgame facilitated was with Steve Madden.
Steve Madden worked with 15 collegiate men’s basketball players to promote their loafers that are being sold at Dillard’s.
With a slew of athletes, Steve Madden is able to tap into a much larger, more diverse crowd than would be possible with just a single influencer.
Washington’s Keion Brooks Jr. shared a photo wearing the Steve Madden shoes on his Instagram, where he has 41K followers.
“Student athletes’ audiences are a lot more engaging than traditional influencers,” said Hackett. “You’re able to get different stories told from student athletes that you wouldn’t get from traditional influencers, which is very valuable.”
Another men’s basketball player, Mark Calleja of USF, posted multiple photos wearing the shoes. He has more than 3K followers on Instagram.
“Athletes are taking more ownership of their brand and realizing how powerful they are,” added Hackett. “They’re able to partner themselves strategically with brands they want to authentically represent.”
While the clothing industry is definitely capitalizing on NIL — experiencing success from student athletes wanting to show off their personal style — community resources and charitable events are another big space.
“That’s the beautiful thing about NIL. It’s allowing athletes to give back more than ever,” Hackett said.
The Steve Madden campaign took place during March Madness, arguably the busiest time of the year for basketball players. Postgame’s unique value proposition is that they’re aware of the time crunch athletes face and do everything in their power to execute these campaigns in an efficient, yet attractive manner.
“This campaign was really hand-picked and hand-curated,” said Hackett. “If you look at the content that’s coming from it, you’re going to see very high quality photos, professionally done content, a lot of great style from these athletes.”
Louisville’s Hercy Miller posted a carousel of images wearing the Steve Madden shoes on his Instagram, where he has amassed 145K followers.
Athletes are able to represent more than just what happens on the court or on the field. One of the purposes of the Steve Madden campaign was to showcase not only the athlete’s fashion sense, but how they can wear Steve Madden in their everyday outfits.
“Athletes are really learning how to maximize themselves by showing their unique personality. These athletes have many other interests besides their sports and they’re wanting to highlight that,” said Hackett. ”A lot of athletes are starting to branch out more and are wanting to work with brands who they want to represent and feel fit their personal needs.”