Stars are born in March Madness. And with NIL, the moments that solidify a student-athlete’s name in school history can now be monetized. Catch phrases, Cinderella runs, and breakout players – athletes can now cash in.
Many brands are already ahead of the game, executing campaigns and announcing partnerships in the midst of the madness. Let’s take a look at five brands activating NIL campaigns during March Madness.
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What: Walk On campaign
About: Degree and two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo teamed up to celebrate five college basketball walk-ons who pushed through barriers to achieve the collegiate athletic experience they dreamed of.
Andre Johnson Jr., UConn Men’s Basketball
Lauren Zwetzig, Notre Dame Women’s Basketball
Ronnie Porter, Wisconsin Women’s Basketball
Spencer Hubbard, Duke Men’s Basketball
Each player received a $25,000 NIL deal to cover the costs and living expenses for one year of college. The fifth walk-on will be a fan-nominated student-athlete who will be revealed during the Men’s Final Four weekend in Houston.
What: March Mustache Collection
About: Pringles mascot Mr. P is known for his burly, black mustache found on the iconic chip container. Mr. P has some competition during March Madness, as Pringles launched its March Mustache collection.
Drew Timme, Gonzaga Men’s Basketball
Dariq Whitehead, Duke Men’s Basketball
Ben Vander Plas, Virginia Men’s Basketball
The three basketball players are featured on the limited-edition March Mustache Pringles collection and took to Instagram to encourage fans to enter the March Mustache Show your ‘stache for a stash – of Pringles– sweepstakes.
About: Cheez-It went all-in with student-athletes to solidify its status as the MVP snack for March Madness watch parties.
@armando #ad @cheezit is a slam dunk at any watch party! Make sure you stock up this March so you can be #FeelinTheCheeziest ♬ original sound – Armando Bacot
Rickea Jackson, Tennessee Women’s Basketball
Jonas Aidoo, Tennessee men’s Basketball
Armando Bacot, North Carolina Men’s Basketball
Justice Sueing, Ohio State Men’s Basketball
Dillon Wilhite, Kansas Men’s Basketball
The five basketball players took to TikTok to show off their Cheez-It-dunking skills and encourage fans to show how Cheez-It has them #FeelingTheCheeziest.
What: See Her Greatness
Platform: Instagram, TikTok
About: Prior to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, Buick launched the See Her Greatness campaign. Featuring five women’s basketball players, the NIL program gives fans an inside look into the lives of some of the likely stars of the tournament.
Aliyah Boston, South Carolina Women’s Basketball
Cameron Brink, Stanford Women’s Basketball
Caitlin Clark, Iowa Women’s Basketball
Azzi Fudd, UConn Women’s Basketball
Kiki Rice, UCLA Women’s Basketball
The campaign website states the goal of the campaign is to “increase women’s visibility in sports by encouraging viewership, supporting initiatives that drive equity and inclusion, and creating platforms for women to have meaningful conversations about the issues that face them.”
What: Game4Good initiative
About: As an official partner of the NCAA, LG released a multitude of original content that highlights student-athletes. Kicking off March Madness, LG partnered with four basketball players as part of the #Game4Good initiative. The initiative aims to raise awareness and drive donations on behalf of community organizations that support mental health and wellness.
Flau’Jae Johnson, LSU Women’s Basketball
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana Men’s Basketball
Jarace Walker, Houston Men’s Basketball
Haley Jones, Stanford Women’s Basketball
Each athlete brought attention to a different mental health organization in a community that means something to them.