6 Year Old Signs NIL Deal (and the Rise of Athlete “Media” Plays)

Someone sent me this the other day…

patton green signs nil deal

“What?! Come on now! This is going to ruin sports!”

I’m sure those are some of the thoughts running through your head right now.

But let me give you some perspective…

Everything in sports will continue to go younger.

And it’s becoming greater than just endorsements or what you see in the headlines.

Let’s Dive In 👇

Beginning of Athlete Monetization

Before NIL, there was red tape that stopped nearly anything from taking place prior to professional sports.

Well, that red tape is LONG gone.

NIL opened up the floodgates from toddlers to 45-year-old players like Tom Brady.

6 Year Old Golfer

This is all you need to know about the 6-year-old, Patton Green, who signed a NIL deal.

Quote from the press release:

“The partnership with Patton Green marks Sunday Golf’s first NIL deal to date as it aims to expand the company’s presence in youth golf.”

Let’s break down the italicized words:

  1. Partnership: should Patton become a star, Sunday Golf wants it known this is greater than just a cash deal — it’s a “partnership”
  2. First NIL deal to date: Sunday Golf was looking for a unique angle to enter the NIL space (and they strategically executed this to perfection)
  3. Expand/youth golf: The NIL deal was a great kickoff for Sunday Golf into a new and much larger market of youth sports

All companies looking to do NIL deals (especially early-stage startups) should study this deal.

Not sure how I feel about parents profiting off of kindergarteners and putting pressure on kids at such a young age…

youth golfer visits texas

But that’s a discussion for another day.

Let me give you one more NIL media example…

NIL Media Play

I had a client who wanted some NIL exposure in the youth football space — so here’s what we did…

  1. Signed a $5,000 deal with a 4-star HS football player from California.
  2. Outlined that the player would post on all his social media accounts.

It worked like magic.

All the California media outlets picked it up, and eventually the National outlets.

The deal resulted in $500,000+ of media value (a 100x return).

The company was then able to put “featured in ESPN, USA Today, CBS, etc” on the homepage of its website.

Popeyes Innovative NIL Deal

This tweet got 13M views and was plastered everywhere.

popeyes kid meme nil deal

But get this…

Popeyes probably paid that young man less than $20,000 (and that campaign was worth $1 million+ to Popeyes on eyeballs alone).

As you can now see, NIL is another fantastic marketing angle for brands — it creates stories out of thin air that people love.

It’s much more than just endorsement cash.

Building Relationships

I was recently talking with a NIL agent/business partner and she said that her wisest athletes are thinking beyond just cash.

They are thinking about their future.

So what does that mean?

These athletes don’t just want to sign deals with companies, they want to sign partnerships with the people at these companies.

athlete handshake

NIL is not just about cash, it’s about leveraging relationships and getting in rooms that were otherwise hard to enter.

And naturally, people aren’t against mentoring, when you see someone that is motivated like your former self, you’ll be willing to help.

Student-Athlete-Entrepreneurs fit this mold perfectly.

Going Forward

Athletes are the next wave of successful entrepreneurs. Tie that together with the creator economy…things are going to evolve quickly.

Last words of advice:

• Athletes: think beyond the short-term appeal for cash and embrace the long-term journey of business

• Brands: understand that NIL is one of the greatest media/publicity hacks at your disposal (if used correctly)

• Founders/executives: NIL isn’t just about media or sales, it’s about building relationships with driven athletes who will become the next great business leaders

• Agents: offer more than just endorsements and don’t push athletes into short-term thinking either

Do cool stuff and the right people will fall in line.

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