Technology giant Meta is expanding its name, image and likeness efforts in college athletics through a new partnership with sports tech provider Teamworks. The parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Meta will provide social media support and education to college athletes—who are overwhelmingly using social platforms in NIL deals—through INFLCR, a subsidiary of Teamworks.
The goal of the three-year partnership is to help athletes maximize their NIL earning potential across Meta’s platforms, in particular, through educational programming.
The deal marks Meta’s most expansive NIL effort to date. When athletes were first granted the ability to monetize their rights in 2021, the company created a marketing-focused NIL curriculum around leveraging its technology and platforms in NIL with the hopes of engaging early adopters. The goal now is scale.
INFLCR, a content and compliance software app that focuses on brand building and NIL business management, has more than 200 Division I college partners. Teamworks’ collegiate reach extends to nearly 300 institutions.
“We firmly believe at Meta and across our platforms that our technologies do level the playing field for student athletes and essentially give everyone the same opportunity to monetize their name, image and likeness in this new era,” Dev Sethi, Meta emerging athletes and sports creators lead, said in a phone interview. “Everyone has the ability, especially through social media, to build and monetize their brand. But for us, what’s critically important [is] making sure athletes have equal access to information and education.”
Meta can also encourage the use of new monetization tools it creates among the hundreds of college athletes it now has access to—teaching athletes how Instagram’s shopping features can be integrated into NIL endorsement deals, for example.
The company has already begun using college athletes in its product trials, tapping UCLA gymnast Jordan Chiles and Oregon basketball star Sedona Prince as part of a small group of creators selected to test the initial launch of Instagram subscriptions.
Sethi said Meta views college athletes as the next generation of content creators on its platforms—and articulated plans for the continued development of products to meet their specific needs and opportunities. He added that Meta will continue to look to involve college athletes in testing future monetization features.
In-person programming and workshops will be held for athletes and those involved less directly with NIL, such as coaches and athletics administrators. Sessions will cover the verification process, safety and wellness, best practices, monetization tips, content strategy, cadence and creation as well as monetization. Additional educational materials will also be available to athletes in the INFLCR app, where Instagram is already linked.
Jim Cavale, INFLCR founder and CEO, said the centerpiece of this deal is education. “This is all about Meta being able to access the INFLCR user network and provide exclusive education resources to student athletes,” he said.
But he could see the partnership evolving into more. Cavale didn’t comment on any current data integration plans but didn’t rule it out for the future. INFLCR currently has a third-party analytics partner that pulls the social data used to track and assess athletes’ fair-market value.
“It’s just an opportunity for student athletes to have custom conversations with Meta about its platforms,” Cavale said in an interview. “And for Meta…they have the ability to have conversations with our student athletes based on different opportunities they want to put in front of them, and there are a lot of opportunities that those platforms can bring.”