College Football Preview

TiVo signs on with Ga Tech as wide-ranging NIL deals take shape

TiVo's deal is among the broader NIL ventures that any company has taken on with a single teamTIVO

TiVo’s first venture into creating NIL deals with college athletes has "landed at Georgia Tech, replete with products, a cash payment and silk pajamas," according to Ken Sugiura of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. TiVo has "signed deals with 90 Yellow Jackets football players, many of whom began promoting TiVo on social media Wednesday." TiVo offered an endorsement deal to "every member of the team." The 90 who "accepted the offer cross the range from starters to walk-ons." The players "received a $404 prepaid debit card and a TiVo Stream 4K (valued at $29.99), which is a streaming device similar to Roku or Apple TV." TiVo’s deal is "among the broader NIL ventures that any company has taken on with a single team" since the NCAA relaxed NIL rules this summer. TiVo was "connected with Tech through an alumnus who worked in the football team’s video department as a student and now works at an agency that represents TiVo." He "connected TiVo with assistant athletic director Simit Shah, who explained the NIL parameters to company officials and helped secure a corporate sponsorship through Legends" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 9/3).

GOOD EATS: In St. Louis, Max Baker notes Mizzou C Drake Heismeyer has "partnered with local restaurants to post on social media in exchange for food." Heismeyer in the offseason changed his number to 69, and the "hashtag 69eatslocal was born." Through "connections with local business owners, Heismeyer began partnering with restaurants near his hometown." His first endorsement "came from Mellow Mushroom" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/3).

CHANGING THE GAME: AD AGE's DeArbea Walker noted the arrival of college football "provides a better view of how marketers will deploy their new endorsers, including during nationally televised games that draw large audiences." United Airlines is among the big brands "capitalizing on the new rule in time for the season." The airline last month "rolled out sponsorships" with USC QB Kedon Slovis, LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr. and Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux to "promote 74 direct flights between college towns." Other brands "rolling out new programs as football arrives include Beats by Dre," and Denny's, which revealed its "All-Pancaker Team sponsorship and marketing campaign with four football players" (, 9/2).

DO THE EVOLUTION: Under Armour CEO Patrick Frisk said NIL endorsements offer "lots of opportunities" for the company, which he confirmed will participate in signing student athletes. But he "cautioned that the landscape for such endorsements will change significantly over its early years." Frisk: "We're at the very, very beginning of this, and we'll see a lot of evolution over the next 12, 24, or 36 months." YAHOO's Zahn & Serwer noted UA "cut nearly half of its sponsorship commitments in 2020 as part of a restructuring that came in response to COVID-19 pandemic" (, 9/2).

NOT ALL DOOM & GLOOM: In DC, Sally Jenkins writes change is "not invariably bad, and the legal change that allows college athletes to profit from their own name, image and likeness (NIL) will not crumble stadiums." The NIL market is in its "early days, but it’s safe to say almost nothing has gone as the naysayers threatened." Despite "all the vertigo over NCAA rule book upheavals, the money is not changing college sports for the worse." Rather, there are "some positive signs, a couple of them even wondrous" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/3). BIZ JOURNALS' Kish, Jackson & Wilen note the ramifications of the rule change will "take years to play out." For now, there are "more questions than answers." Are athletes "getting a fair share?" What will the "change mean for small, cash-strapped athletic departments?" How will universities "navigate the potential conflict of interest when athletes and athletic departments chase the same marketing dollars?" And "most importantly: Is this the first step toward collective bargaining that could even more radically upend college sports?" (, 9/2).

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