Jacquelyn Dahl knows what it takes to be an athlete from every angle. She’s a former student-athlete and founder of 1Up Sports Marketing where she provides marketing representation for some of the NFL’s biggest stars in Patrick Mahomes, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, and Bradley Chubb.
Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence sat down with Dahl to ask the age old question… How can athletes earn more money off the field? How can they maximize the endorsement and sponsorship opportunities available to them?
Lucky for us, this is Jacquelyn Dahl’s area of expertise. Her work has drawn in some of the NFL’s most marketable stars. All-Pros, Super Bowl MVPs, and even the 500-million-dollar man himself, Patrick Mahomes, work hand-in-hand with Dahl to make marketing work for them.
Below is Dahl’s take on how players can maximize their endorsement value and earn more deals on social and beyond.
3 Tips to Earn More Endorsement Marketing Opportunities
It’s a question every athlete should be asking: How can I maximize my endorsement value? How can I get more marketing opportunities? And ultimately… how can I make more money?
Maximizing off-field marketing opportunities starts well before an athlete’s name is called at the NFL Draft. Today, athletes have the power to begin building brands that advertisers want to align with from a very early age.
Elite athletes already perform, prepare, and hone specific skill-sets to get attention from coaches and evaluations to earn athletic scholarships and opportunities to play at the next level. The process to earn endorsement opportunities isn’t so different. With the right performance, prep, and unique attributes, athletes can stretch turn athletic accomplishments into marketing success.
With these moves in mind, Dahl broke down three keys to athlete endorsement marketing success:
1. Perform Inside The Lines
Performance within sport leads to more endorsement value. It’s simple, but not certain for every athlete. That’s why the best-of-the-best inside the lines have the upper hand when it comes to endorsement earning power.
Top performance sets the tone for marketability. It leads to increased exposure that only comes from a certain level of success, and places the athlete in elite company. This success and exposure makes it easier to reach and build a valuable audience, increasing the athlete’s endorsement value with brands and marketers.
2. Be Prepared & Have a Plan
Not every moment in sports belongs to the superstars. For every Tom Brady Super Bowl-winning drive, there’s a David Tyree first down catch. For each Joe Burrow title game MVP, there’s a walk-on receiver hauling in a game-winner.
The stars are ready for these moments. They have a rep and media production partners that will be ready to send them content to share the moment a game ends or partnership is inked. They have a plan before the game begins because they know they’ll be in the spotlight.
But for most athletes, it’s on them to be prepared for the moment. Athletes at every level should be asking…
“What if I make the game-winning catch?”
“What if I nail the buzzer beater?”
“What if the game comes down to me making a field goal?”
“What if I make the save?”
Making the most of these moments can bring an athlete from relative obscurity to the national spotlight in seconds. Having personal plan and/or marketing partners in place to create media and pitch endorsement availability immediately following the moment can be the difference between inking a life-changing marketing partnership or missing an opportunity in the spotlight altogether.
3. Find Your Niche
The huge majority of athletes in college and professional ranks aren’t elite performers in their sport. They’re not All-Americans or All-Pros. But that shouldn’t preclude them from earning endorsement dollars. Finding and expressing an interest or niche makes an athlete attractive to brands in that vertical.
Will the hunting enthusiast walk-on lineman receive as many NIL endorsement opportunities as the star quarterback? Probably not. But sharing his love of hunting can open him up to opportunities with local and regional outfitters.
To receive these opportunities, athletes need to be intentional and vocal. For PJ Tucker, it was sharing his sneaker collection that turned into a multi-year Nike endorsement deal. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s love of gaming led to becoming a brand ambassador for HyperX gaming headphones. For Boban Marjanovic, it was embracing his 7′ 4″ frame with a little humor that led to a partnership with Big Blanket Co.
For every athlete, superstar or not, it’s important to find what makes you stand out from the rest. Embrace it, share it, and put your value to brands that fit those interests on display.