New NIL firm will help donor collectives arrange, manage and monitor student athletes’ deals

By Michael Smith
Athlete Licensing Company created an NIL deal for Mississippi State’s baseball players after they won the CWS title.Getty Images

The quickly evolving name, image and likeness space has yielded an array of new business opportunities in college athletics. The latest is the brainchild of Bobby Bramhall, whose Nashville-based agency, Athlete Licensing Company, has begun working with donor collectives to help them strike NIL deals and monitor the income for college athletes.

Bramhall was a baseball player at Rice and played professionally for seven years before joining the Texas A&M front office as an associate athletic director. He left last year to start an NIL agency, but it wasn’t until the development of these donor collectives that Bramhall saw an opening in the increasingly competitive NIL landscape for his company.

ALC manages the back-of-house operations through software that keeps up with payments to the athletes and their fulfillment of the deal, whether it’s an individual plugging a business on social media or a group of athletes making an appearance at a golf fundraiser.

“We’re the back-office accounting for this entire ecosystem that is developing,” Bramhall said.

Collectives can be stand-alone businesses, part of a larger firm or nonprofit entities, and their objective is to create income-producing opportunities for the athletes. There is no formal relationship between the collectives and the schools. The collectives must remain a third party with no affiliation to the university because of state laws and NCAA guidelines.

More than 20 collectives have sprung up in college towns. Industry experts say every Power Five school will have a collective at some point this year.

ALC has established relationships with collectives that represent three SEC schools so far:

The Legacy Group in Starkville, Miss., facilitates NIL deals for Mississippi State athletes.
Spyre Sports Group in Knoxville, Tenn., works on deals for Tennessee athletes.
NIL-Auburn does the same for the Tigers.

ALC also has facilitated some deals of its own, such as autographed baseballs for Mississippi State’s national championship team that are selling for $399. Profits from the sales go to the players.

ALC makes its money by taking an undisclosed transaction fee on each deal.

Bramhall said the goal is to put at least 80% of each transaction into the players’ pockets.

“They’ve got a reporting structure and they can manage collection and distribution of funds,” said James Clawson, one of Spyre’s co-founders. “As a collective, we need that. But they also bring access to new opportunities, like exclusive memorabilia.”

In addition to merchandise and keepsakes, ALC also plans to help athletes with NFT offerings of special moments for teams and individuals.

“We’re providing ways for athletes to make businesses out of themselves,” said Bramhall, whose company will soon debut a mobile app where athletes can check their monthly statements and have an accounting for each deal they fulfilled. 

The emergence of these collectives could be leading to a new line of business for ALC. Bramhall said he’s hearing from donors who want to start a collective, but they’re not sure where to begin, so he’s looking into whether there’s more business that could come from the creation of new collectives.

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