Maximizing Your Success with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Deals 

Maximizing Your Success with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Deals 

  • Sports & Entertainment
  • Wealth Planning

Maximizing Your Success with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Deals

The Supreme Court’s 2021 ruling on NIL has allowed college athletes to benefit financially from their name, image, and likeness. While this has opened a new world of opportunities, the lack of federal regulation has also made it difficult for athletes to navigate this landscape. In this article, we will cover some crucial Do’s and Don’ts to help athletes and their families make informed decisions.  Please note, this article is intended to provide general information concerning NIL deals and should not be solely relied upon when making decisions.

Do Build a Checklist 

The NIL process can be overwhelming and stressful.  Athletes and their families should not jump on the first deal presented to them. Instead, it’s beneficial to create an NIL checklist to ensure they’re making the best decisions. Consider the following items:

  • Although no federal laws regarding NIL exist, certain states, jurisdictions, and schools have enacted their own legislation and policies. To stay informed, you’ll need to be familiar with your state’s NIL policies – This state law tracker is a great place to start.
  • Manage Your Time. Final exams. Playoffs. Maybe a family vacation.  Avoid making a commitment to a NIL deal, only to find out that it clashes with your schedule. It’s crucial to identify the weeks or months when you can dedicate your energy to NIL.
  • Recruit your team. Who is on your NIL  Team? Family members? Friends? A credible and trusted Private Advisor? Trusted legal representation? Early on it is important to identify the individuals who you trust and will act with your best interest at heart.
  • Scouting. What is considered fair compensation for your NIL deal?  When it comes to accepting your first NIL offer, it’s essential to do your homework. Don’t jump at the first offer that comes your way without knowing whether it’s right for you. Research NIL deals for athletes with similar popularity and exposure to yourself and confer with your personal NIL team to strategize for negotiation.

Do  Make This Process Unique to You 

You are more than just a number on a jersey or a statistic on a sheet. You are a unique individual with your own personal brand, interests, personality, background and future.

It’s important to stay true to yourself and never feel compelled to accept something that doesn’t align with who you are.  Just because a teammate’s NIL deal seems perfect, it does not mean it’s perfect for you.

What does a perfect fit look like? It could involve collaborating with a business that has ties to your hometown or creating a sponsored post with the company that produces your favorite pregame snack. Perhaps there is a particular charity or cause that you deeply connect with and you set up a NIL deal with the organization that advocates for that cause.

Get creative and do not be afraid to be yourself!

Do Think of the Money Long-Game 

NIL decisions today can have long-term impacts on your financial security. Speaking with a Private Advisor can help you budget NIL income and make wise investments that will help you grow your wealth over time. By taking a thoughtful and strategic approach to your NIL income, you can set yourself up for financial success both now and in the years to come.

Don’t Risk Your Integrity for a Paycheck 

When considering NIL deals, it’s important to avoid deals that compromise your values or integrity or require you to do something you would not otherwise do. Do research on potential NIL partners to ensure their message or philosophy aligns with your own. If not, it would be disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

Don’t Lose Sight of what’s Important 

Consider this comparison: NIL is like a Weekly MVP honor, just as your career is the season-long Championship. You would never put all your effort into a weekly or monthly individual honor and risk losing a shot at the title because of it.

While NIL deals can be beneficial, they should not supersede your obligations as a student and athlete. Keep your focus on reaching your ultimate goals, and don’t let NIL distract you from the bigger picture.

Don’t  Try to Do It All Yourself 

An NIL deal involves many complex legal, financial, and practical considerations, and it’s unreasonable to expect athletes to handle everything on their own. Do they know whether to open a savings or investment account? And if so from where? Are they setting money aside to pay taxes on realized gains from NIL? Do they know how much is enough?

Have they considered insurance in the case of an injury? Have they reviewed the legal language of the NIL deal so they are compensated for future use of their name, image and likeness? Will this NIL deal impact any financial aid they are receiving for their education?

The truth is, it is highly unlikely any college student can answer all these questions on their own. A Rockefeller Private Advisor can assist in navigating the complex NIL landscape and preparing athletes and their families for long-term success.

Investing involves risk, including risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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