With college athletes able to capitalize on their names, images and likenesses as early as this summer, athlete marketing platform Opendorse and social media juggernaut Twitter have teamed up to make those first deals easier.
The new program, announced Thursday, will connect advertisers with athletes looking to make sponsored posts on Twitter, using both Opendorse’s endorsement marketplace and Twitter’s video sponsorship system. Brands will be able to request certain athletes—like all Division I basketball players or women’s golfers in California—and eligible players will be able to post the requested content with compensation determined by video performance.
“Over the years, we have developed content partnerships with networks, teams and leagues to bring the biggest moments in college sports to life,” Twitter senior sports partner manager David Herman said in a statement. “Athlete-generated content is the final, and most impactful piece of that puzzle. We’re committed to empowering athletes to not only create content but to earn meaningful compensation once rules changes allow.”
Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence said that “Twitter is part of our DNA at Opendorse,” having worked with the social network going back to Opendorse’s first offerings nearly a decade ago. The biggest consideration in this partnership was building in tools to help students disclose who paid them, how much they were paid, when they were paid and what they were paid for, in the event that such information will be required by schools or the NCAA.
The system will also ensure that videos uploaded by participants don’t include school marks.
“This is a purpose-driven initiative,” Lawrence said in an interview. “Student athletes have long been at the center of the conversation in college sports. For the first time ever, they’re able to monetize their name, image and likeness.” However, without direct institutional support, “there will be 500,000 student athletes that will be on their own,” Lawrence said.
Opendorse already works with over 40,000 amateur, professional and retired athletes. Its partners include the NFLPA, NBPA, WNBA, MLBPA, NHL and PGA TOUR, as well as more than 100 college programs.
Five states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Mexico—have NIL laws set to take effect July 1, and there is an industry expectation that athletes across the country will be able to take advantage of similar opportunities by that date. At the same time, among advertisers, Lawrence said to expect “a high level of interest due to the effectiveness of the opportunity and the novelty that is aligning with student athletes.”