The doors were opened when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that athletes would soon be able to reap benefits based on their “name and image” on June 30, 2013. This allowed collegiate athletes to earn money from United States based on their student status.
Unsurprisingly, several companies have wasted little time signing so-called NIL agreements with elite NCAA athletes, including a growing number in the travel industry. Kayvon Thibodeaux, a University of Oregon defender, and Kenny Pickett of the University of Pittsburgh have signed deals with United Airlines (and the Oaklander Hotel), respectively.
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It’s possible these offers are just the beginning as many experts believe travel and tourism companies will look more closely at NCAA athletes to reach their targeted markets.
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What is the purpose of the travel and tourism that go into this game?
It’s brand awareness. It allows hotels and airlines to connect with potential customers who follow the school (and) the athlete, “said Timothy Derdenger, associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper of Business who has, among others things, studied Tiger Woods’ impact on Nike’s golf business.
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The company’s perspective on “Name, Image and Likeness” is pure marketing: it ties your product or service to another brand. In this case, the athlete.
Certainly, the NIL market is shaping up to be huge – at least a $ 1 billion a year industry, according to Blake Lawrence, CEO and founder of Opendorse, a sports technology company that helps connect athletes with NIL opportunities – if it’s not already. INFLCR, a platform that works with over 170 NCAA Division I athletic departments to help athletes gain NIL opportunities, saw a flurry of activity in the first month. Athletes from the company’s Alabama-based partner institutions reported more than 1,300 NIL transactions in July.
How do travel and tourism agencies decide which athletes to collaborate with? Popularity is clearly an important factor. “Unless the owner or marketing director of the company has a personal relationship with an athlete, most will look for athletes with a large following because they are good with social media and are team stars,” said Lisa Delpy Neirotti. , an associate professor of sports management at George Washington University School of Business.
It may seem obvious, but Derdenger says companies will be looking for athletes and teams that have a strong connection with their products.
You won’t have a basketball player to help promote your Oregon golf resort. He said you won’t have any golfers from Oregon, or national championship teams to promote your resort.
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One tourism brand that has certainly reached athletes with deep connections not only with targeted markets, but with its core products is Orlando North, the destination marketing organization for Seminole County, Florida. Gui Cunha, director of tourism, said the DMO has signed NIL agreements with many Seminole County athletes to help promote their “Game On” campaign. This was designed to inform event organizers and families, as well as athletes, of its reopening for tournaments.
We have taken a strategic approach to our content library, where we are looking “Ok”. Cunha said softball was the most important need for our content library.
Orlando North has signed a $ 2,000 contract with Florida State University’s Kaley Mudge, which set college softball world series records during the 2021 College World Series. The DMO is working with Mudge and other supporters, such as the former James Madison University star Odicci Alexander, to help Seminole County attract women’s sports tournaments as part of the “Game On” campaign.
Cunha thinks big names like Alexander and Mudge make Seminole Country a desirable destination for softball players. But what does this testimonial do for Orlando North, he asked? Cunha said they promoted Seminole County. The county has seen an increase in sports tourism since 2015. Athletes are doing something even more.
They provide the content we need to promote. He said that while we once only had 10-20 authentic assets or photos, we now have hundreds after the NIL agreements. The real value for us is the ability to tell our story longer.
Cunha said Seminole County’s NIL agreements have proven effective in other areas as well, including an increase in YouTube followers and an increase in engagement rates after posting promotional material.
Who should you contact?
Seminole County is using NCAA athletes to reach younger audiences, which comes as no surprise to Thilo Kunkel. This is one of the benefits of working with travel and tourism companies, according to a Temple University professor.
Kunkel, who is a professor at Temple’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and Hospitality Management and also directs the Sports Industry Center, said: “I believe travel companies will definitely benefit mainly because they are reaching an extremely specific audience.”
Kunkel is specifically aimed at a young audience who like to travel actively. Kunkel believes that travel companies that specialize in activities such as rock climbing and sufing would do well to form partnerships with sports-loving students.
Carnegie Mellon’s Derdenger thinks tourism and travel companies won’t target a young market. He said, “If you’re targeting the college quarterback for the local soccer team, this will have a huge pull on not only 18-24 year olds, but alumni of all demographics that follow the team.”
He believes travel companies see partnership opportunities with NCAA athletes as an opportunity to connect with alumni. Unsurprisingly, alumni have more money than others to travel and enjoy the resorts. Sure, it’s more than college students.
Kunkel believes that travel and tourism businesses should use student-athletes to access a new market, potential foreign tourists. Kunkel believes that international student-athletes, particularly from countries where travel brands are targeting, have tremendous opportunities for success in NIL offerings. Cunha mentioned Canada, where Swoop and Flair, two of the largest airlines in the world, fly into Seminole County.
But Kunkel noted that the question of whether international travel student-athletes can benefit from NIL offers is decidedly confusing. Although Orlando North accepted a NIL deal with Minori Nagano, a Japanese golfer from Seminole State College was not. Cunha admitted that he was dependent on the compliance departments of these institutions before negotiating international agreements.
Money is important
How much are student-athletes paid when they sign agreements with tourism and travel agencies? Many times, it isn’t.
Mudge was paid $ 2,000 by Orlando North for providing services such as podcast interview, photo and video shoots, as well as major softball stars. However, every other person who signed NIL contracts with the DMO received less than $ 500. Cunha said Orlando North will not be financially crippled by its partnership with college athletes. The company is spending only one percent of its budget on such deals.
While stories like University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young earning nearly $ 1 million in NIL deals before ever starting a college-level game are the first to jump out of fans, the figure Cunha gave for the typical Orlando North’s NIL agreement is in line with what most student-athletes have achieved. The average Division I athlete using Opendorse in July earned $ 471 while the median monthly figure was just $ 35.
While not always profitable, student-athletes can still benefit from travel opportunities provided by companies. Sports tourism expert George Washington’s Delpy Negrotti sees athletes as beneficiaries of in-kind offers for free or reduced hotel room rates.
Kunkel has already seen student-athletes take advantage of such opportunities, in one case local athletes helped run a Jersey Shore hotel. He said, “It’s not necessarily a thousand dollar sponsorship deals, but it’s a hundred dollars here and there.”
Finally, and most importantly, these opportunities are plentiful for athletes not featured on ESPN, as demonstrated by the Orlando North signing. Derdenger is one example.
He said, “Think of a company that runs a rafting tour down the Colorado River.” You might think of an elite college swim team in California, Nevada, or Arizona with that kind of brand recognition. It would be nice to have (that swimmer) come down and approve of the service you provide along the Colorado River.
“Depending on the industry and the services the company offers, I believe there are many opportunities for people other than basketball players.”
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Published Fri, 3 Sep 2021 at 14:41:44 +0000
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