When someone asks, “What’s your major?” to an athlete, it’s fair to say the last thing they consider in that conversation is NIL opportunities. But companies are searching for athletes by major.
For example, let’s say a local bank wants to do a promotional campaign. They are looking for athletes majoring in finance, business administration, or a related field at their local school. The bank is trying to reach more college-aged people and working with athletes helps them directly reach that target market.
The bank hops on Opendorse, searches athletes at the school, and filters by major listed in their Opendorse Profiles. Next thing they know, they see 14 athletes at the school in those majors and pitch them each an opportunity via Opendorse.
From pitch to payment, the deal happened because of what the athlete was studying – not necessarily how they were performing on the field or in competition.
But what about other majors?. Here are some and their NIL possibilities:
- Animal Science: partner with local adoption agencies or vet clinics
- Broadcasting and Communications: stream on Twitch or post content where you’re interviewing teammates, which could open you up to promoting products you use while filming
- Engineering: endorse STEM programs in your hometown or college community that align with your values; tutor STEM students in-person or online
- Exercise Science: endorse the local workout or wellness facility you may use while back home
- Finance: partner with a financial app that you use
- Marketing: serve as an ambassador for a local professional sports team
- Nutrition and Health Sciences: share recipes and what fuels you, which could lead to endorsing cooking products or meal service companies
- Pre-med/pre-health: partner with a medical equipment company
Now for an actual NIL deal to consider.
Current is a financial tech company with the goal of “making money better for everyone.” They have products designed to help their members spend, save, and manage their money. With an NIL deal on Opendorse Opportunities, they are looking to work with athletes who are also a finance major.
Finance company + Finance major = Deal
In other words: Major + NIL = Money earned
Why does this happen though? And what are the long-term impacts? Let’s take a walk…
An athlete who could be building their brand and posting very specific things on social media. Or they have their social media bio featuring some other info about themselves for fans and brands to learn more.
However, one piece of information that may be forgotten in the athlete’s bio page or Opendorse Profile: academic major. By sharing what they are studying, they are opening yourself up to more opportunities.
This can also be done on LinkedIn. Some athletes may think, “I’m not looking for a job right now, so I don’t need to worry about having a LinkedIn yet.” But LinkedIn could be the platform where athletes find the most success building their brand. LinkedIn connections can come with people with similar majors or career interests, and they might want to partner with you to leverage your NIIL.
That’s why it is important to think about LinkedIn profiles now, and not wait for the job hunt. What an athlete shares on LinkedIn or their Opendorse Profile creates the “secret sauce” to many NIL deals, which is called…
When companies are looking for athletes to do NIL endorsements, they may not have a specific athlete in mind. Instead, they may seek out athletes based on their interests or background.
They are looking for a connection between the athlete’s personal brand and the company’s brand.
That connection is called alignment.
Alignment is the sweet spot for NIL opportunities.
For the company, they can make an instant link from what they do to what the athlete represents.
For the athlete, they will care more about the opportunity because it fits what they (hopefully) enjoy when not being an athlete. This can translate to better content made by the athlete or openness by the athlete to all the elements in the terms of the deal.
Alignment becomes a win-win for all of those involved.
Good experience with an imbedded alignment could lead to more opportunities with the same company, leading us to…
What’s better than a one-off deal? A partnership.
One way to look at it is there are deals (short-term) and partnerships (long-term).
Athletes – and companies – may have a great experience and want to strike a longer-term partnership. Now, instead of doing one social media post giving the company a shoutout, the athlete could have a series of appearances, autographs, additional social media posts, and or speaking engagements with the company. These could stretch over several months to best fit the athlete’s schedule and, of course, lead to more money earned.
Deals and partnerships are like an internship vs. a job. Internships (deals) are great and a solid steppingstone, but a job (partnership) is more stable.
And speaking on internships…
If an athlete does a great job with a company within your field of study, and demonstrates strong professionalism and a good work ethic, they may find themselves presented an internship and possibly full-time job after graduation.
When an athlete is interacting with a representative of a company, that should be treated like an interview. And if the athlete enjoys the interaction working with the company, thinking about working for them would be a fair expectation.
Some athletes are in sports where time demands are already hard enough. But by planting the seed with the company through the NIL deal or partnership, they can go back to them in the future and ask about possible jobs or internships.
The athlete should make sure in the follow-up email or note they reference how much they enjoyed the experience working with them. And do not forget to mention who they worked with in the past. It will help remind the company even more about how great the athlete was to work with and factor that into interviews.
To sum it up, majors can lead to an NIL opportunity which creates a partnership which can land a job.
It’s all within the realm of possibility in the NIL era.