4 Tips for a Strong NIL Partnership

Athletes are influential, but they are not influencers. 

Brands play a critical role in an athlete’s NIL experience, and how they communicate with athletes can make or break a campaign. 

Here’s how to successfully communicate with student-athletes to make your next brand campaign a success. 

1. Start by selecting compatible athletes for your campaign 

Use the Opendorse Discover Network to find athletes that align with your campaign. Sometimes the biggest names aren’t the most compatible for your brand’s goals. 

It’s easy to filter and find athletes based on demographics, geographic information, specific interests and view their Profile to see what they’re passionate about. A complete and detailed Opendorse Profile is a good sign that a student-athlete is eager to participate in NIL activities and will fulfill deal terms at a high level. 

Don’t know exactly who to partner with? Opendorse Opportunities is a great option where student-athletes apply to be part of your campaign and you choose who you want to work with. 

2. Focus on clear communication 

Student-athletes are information sponges. They are in a key learning phase of their life. They’re constantly taking in information from school and sport, and they’re prepared to learn from brands too. 

When connecting with student-athletes to participate in your next campaign, be clear and provide all necessary details. This helps the athlete better understand the agreement and can better gauge if the activity is something they can commit to. 

Clearly lay out in a step-by-step format any minimum requirements, possible complexities, timeline, and who to contact if they have questions. It’s okay to overcommunicate. 

3. Support can go a long way

Student-athletes are navigating all the challenges of being a young adult while balancing the time required to their sport and studies. The chat feature is a great way to open that line of communication and provide guidance to the athlete through each activity of the deal. 

Steps as simple as a personal introduction and checking in to see if they have any questions can go a long way. NIL is just as new for student-athletes as it is for brands, so let them know they aren’t alone in this process. 

Don’t be offended if you reach out and a student-athlete doesn’t respond right away. Chances are they appreciate the outreach but may be in a situation where they are busy with other responsibilities or can’t access their phone. 

4. Student-athletes are humans too

Don’t forget student-athletes are 18–22-year-old young adults. Despite being top athletes in their respective sports with large followings, it’s important to remember that you’re communicating with a human on the other side. 

Not every student-athlete has a marketing representative or agent. Luckily, Opendorse helps athletes navigate NIL as they juggle numerous responsibilities. Athletes aren’t influencers who sit around thinking about sponsorships all day. Stay patient, plan campaigns in advance, and take the time to find the perfect partner. 



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