With the recent update of the NCAA NIL policy, businesses of all sizes have been looking for ways to get exposure by partnering with athletes.

College athletes can now earn money off of their names, image, and likeness, which has led to a wave of new opportunities for local businesses. Several athletes have already taken to social media to announce their new deals.

For instance, Trey Knox of the Arkansas Razorbacks is partnering with PetSmart and has been active on his social media accounts to promote the brand. His social media posts with Petsmart have been well received, garnering thousands of likes from his 13.9K followers on Twitter and 12.8K followers on Instagram.

As a smaller-scale example, Drake Heismeyer of the Missouri Tigers has been partnering with several local restaurants and advertising their businesses. With roughly 1.4 thousand followers on Instagram and Twitter, Heismeyer’s posts have received a fair amount of recognition with a couple of hundred likes on each post.

Facilitating a deal with a student-athlete may seem impossible, but it’s not as hard as it seems.

You don’t need to land a deal with the top quarterback at a Power Conference school to get more exposure for your company. There are several ways to get your name out there and take your marketing to the next level.

A New World of Opportunity for Small Businesses

Sponsoring an athlete has many benefits. First, a sponsorship would help increase sales because of exposure to a new audience. Once you partner with an athlete you have instant access to their audience. Even a player with 1,000 followers will still get some attention and increase traffic.

Second, a sponsorship would help increase brand loyalty. People are more likely to trust your business when they see somebody they know talking about it. Especially if the student athlete is from a nearby town, it will prove your support for that area.

Finally, a student athlete sponsorship will present a face to your business, making it more appealing and engaging to others. It provides that bridge between your business and your customers.

Approaching an Athlete

Figure Out What Kind of Business You Are

The first step before approaching an athlete is figuring out what kind of business you are and what goals you have. Are you a bigger or smaller business? Are you mostly local or are you planning to expand? Are you looking to increase your website traffic or are you trying to get more conversions?

Once you determine specific goals you can plan how to use a partnership to help get your products and services out to a larger audience. Having a clear goal will also make it easier for your athlete to understand what they are representing.

You Don’t Need A Big Budget

You DO NOT need to have a big budget to get exposure for your business!

Not every athlete is the quarterback for the most popular team in college sports. There are other lesser-known athletes who still have a following and are looking to secure deals.

Basketball players from less well-known programs are still recognizable and have a local following of their own.

Using that local following builds trust among your audience and shows that you are a part of the community.

Think Outside The Box

Basketball and football certainly get the most attention in college sports, but there are also opportunities in sports like field hockey, golf, water polo, and swimming.

Just because you don’t see some of these sports on TV doesn’t mean that there’s not an opportunity there.

Reach out to an athlete via their social media or email and outline your terms.

Which Athletes Are Good To Sponsor?

Single Sponsors

Find athletes who haven’t signed partnerships with other companies.

It’s better to pick an athlete who does not yet have a deal with another company. Advertising power is reduced if you have a spokesperson who represents several companies.

Brand Representation

Social media plays a significant role in personal branding. Chances are your potential sponsor already has some form of social media.

Take a look at their existing accounts and note the content that you see. What kinds of things are they talking about? What are their posts like? How would this content reflect on your business?

Don’t just settle for the first athlete that you find. Make sure you have an idea of what this partnership can bring to your brand.

Whether they have 1,000 followers or 5,000 followers there’s still a potential to reach a new audience.

It’s just the beginning and several companies and athletes are already reaping the benefits of this policy. Though there are still changes to be made on the federal level, the impact this has on businesses will continue to be significant.

Need help approaching a college athlete? We can help! Contact Sweet Rose Studios today.