Adi Kunalic and Blake Lawrence, former University of Nebraska football players, founded Opendorse in 2012 to help one athlete, their friend and teammate Prince Amukamara, who was drafted by the New York Giants and saw his social media following skyrocket overnight. Over the past decade, Opendorse has become the industry-leading athlete marketing platform, helping over 45,000 athletes maximize their endorsement value in a safe and compliant way.
Opendorse Ready™ is built to educate and empower student-athletes through a curriculum of live and virtual brand training sessions. Opendorse Social™ is a content management, delivery and publishing platform utilized by the biggest brands in the world. Ready™ and Social™ are typically licensed through institutions and provided to athletes free of charge. If a student-athlete attends an institution that subscribes to Social™ or Ready™, they typically already have an Opendorse account.
Opendorse Deals™ and Opendorse Monitor™ are the latest products added for the NIL era of college sports.
What is Opendorse Deals™?
Opendorse Deals™ is a free, open marketplace built to connect athletes with brands and fans. For brands and fans, Opendorse Deals™ makes connecting with athletes for NIL endorsements as easy as booking a flight on Expedia or a reservation on OpenTable. For athletes, Opendorse alerts them when they have deals to review. When they say yes, Opendorse automates the entire process from pitch to payment in minutes—not months.
Who Can Receive Deals?
Opendorse Deals™ is open to current and former athletes, as well as sports talent. Users must create an account through the Profile Manager and opt-in to Opendorse Deals™ to be made discoverable by prospective partners. Athletes have the power to create and customize their account, as well as set their Open Network preferences. Student-athletes are encouraged to review the legislation in their school’s state, as well as their institution’s NIL Policy, before opting-in to Deals™.
How Does Deals™ Work for Brands and Fans?
In the Open Network, global advertisers, small businesses and individuals can browse thousands of athlete Profiles. When a potential athlete partner is identified, brands can build a deal and create a pitch for their athletes of choice, all to be executed seamlessly through the Opendorse platform.
How Does Opendorse Work for Agents and Advisors?
Opendorse is a great resource for player support systems, including agents and managers. While athletes can be pitched opportunities directly through Deals™, advisors can be added to the player’s Opendorse account so they can track and monitor each transaction in real-time. They can be an active part of the process every step of the way.
Through the Open Network, athlete representation may also be exposed to deals they may not have known otherwise, providing new leads for potential player partnerships.
To ensure student-athlete eligibility, player agents, representatives and advisors should explore NCAA, state and federal policies before entering into formal agreements with players. Opendorse offers an Agent Policy Kit available for purchase that provides NIL guidelines for agents.
Can Parents and Advisors be Involved in Deals?
Yes. In the same way agents, advisors and managers can be added to the Deals™ process, parents are welcome to engage in deal approval, execution, reporting and oversight.
What Kinds of Deals Can Be Done Through Deals™?
Deals can range from paid online activations and in-person appearances to in-kind compensation (i.e. products and hard goods) and more. The following activities are now permitted to be monetized by student-athletes under most NIL policies: hosting camps and private lessons, selling merchandise and memorabilia, creating an online store, paid interviews and podcasts, paid appearance in commercials, streaming monetization, creating a small business and performing under one’s actual name for ticket revenue.
There are guardrails in place, including restricted sponsor categories, but virtually any online or in-person activation can be executed through Opendorse.
Do Student-Athletes Have to Pay for Deals™?
No. Opendorse Deals™ is free for athletes. Buyers, however, pay a standard 30% transaction fee, which is the lowest rate among reputable influencer marketplaces. With buyers paying all transaction fees, athletes receive every penny from deals they accept.
Student-athletes and parents are strongly encouraged to remain in contact with their institution’s compliance staff to ensure they are properly disclosing NIL deals.
What is Opendorse Monitor™?
Opendorse Monitor™, a free tool for athletes, is the best way to disclose NIL activities so institutions can easily track all athlete endorsement activity. Disclosure is simple within the mobile application so every athlete can safely accept NIL deals and remain compliant.
How does Opendorse Monitor™ Work?
A key feature of Opendorse Monitor™ is its seamless integration with Opendorse Deals™, the sports industry’s leading athlete marketplace. Monitor™ allows compliance professionals to set rules within the platform, display endorsement activity and provide status updates within the same Opendorse ecosystem, as these tools work together to protect athletes and ensure eligibility.
What NIL Activities Must be Tracked?
Every NIL activity completed by a student-athlete must be tracked and reported. Through the simple user interface provided by Monitor™, athletes are able to report their NIL opportunities on the go, providing details of NIL activations with a few pushes of a button.
Athletes must simply disclose the type and nature of the deal, date and time, for whom the activity was performed and how much was paid. Athletes must also provide proof of completion. These prompts allow compliance professionals to clearly track all elements of NIL activity, including any information that may be missing from the reporting process.
How does Compensation Work and does Opendorse Support Tax Preparation?
In order to receive payment, athletes must complete a W-9 form to complete their Profile. This process takes about a minute through HelloWorks during account set-up.
Similar to Venmo or PayPal, compensation for deals lives in each athlete’s Opendorse account until they cash out to a secure bank account. Opendorse currently uses Stripe for the account connection process, which takes only a few minutes during the onboarding workflow.
Athletes are responsible for their own tax forecasting and preparation, but utilizing Opendorse Monitor™ can ensure smooth transfer of critical information.
Where do I go for More Information?
Parents and student-athletes should directly contact their institution’s compliance professionals for any questions regarding specifics and eligibility requirements. For any questions regarding NIL legislation or legal advice, parents and student-athletes should reach out to appropriate legal counsel.
For questions regarding Opendorse products and services, parents and student-athletes are encouraged to reach out to the Opendorse team at opendorse.com/contact.