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How To Approach An Athlete For An NIL Deal

By September 7, 2021No Comments

The new NIL policy has everyone from big brands to small businesses looking to make deals with college athletes.

We already know the steps to find a good potential sponsor, now it’s time to approach the athlete!

Use Instagram Direct Messages

Although there are several platforms like Opendorse and INFLCR that help athletes secure brand deals, we’ve found that the easiest thing to do is to reach out to an athlete directly on social media — typically Instagram.

Send the athlete a brief message introducing your business and ask if they’d be interested in partnering.

Don’t outline all of the details of your deal right away. Instead, start with a simple introduction to gauge who is interested.

Just like with any cold message, it’s good to start with a line that flatters the athlete to show them that you recognize them as an actual person.

Once the athlete replies expressing interest in your deal, get their email address and follow up with an email outlining the specific terms of your offer.

This is also a good time to ask about their school’s compliance policy. Every school varies with their NIL guidelines, so make sure you ask the athlete about any specific rules.

Create a Contract

To make sure everyone is on the same page with the agreement, create a contract outlining all the terms. Having a document in place will secure your deal.

There are many good templates online to sample your contract after, including this helpful guide from Carusele.

What to Include In A Contract

There are a few essential terms to explicitly state in your contract. These include:

  • What’s expected of them
  • How the work will be delivered
  • Timeframe of the deal
  • Payment details
  • Terms and conditions of the deal

What’s Expected of Them

A long, detailed contract can get confusing. Make sure you explicitly state what is required of the athlete in your deal.

Are they making an Instagram post? An Instagram story? Is there something specific they need to include in the caption? What is the main goal you are trying to achieve and what can the athlete do for you?

For our athlete contract, we included a section about required phrases in their captions. Include this in your contract if there is something specific you want them to say about your business, but you can also choose to give them as much freedom as they want with their posts.

How the Work Will Be Delivered

Once you decide the content they will be posting, you need to explain how it will be delivered. 

For instance, make sure they know what format — whether an Instagram post or Instagram story — they will be posting. 

You also want to specify that the athletes have to send their posts to you for review before posting. This way, you can ensure that the message you are trying to send is accurate and that your business is represented appropriately.


It’s a good idea to have a specific timeframe of the deal. You don’t want them to sign the contract only to fall behind and not get anything done.

For our athletes, we tried to have everything posted within a month, with the first post being submitted a week after signing the contract.


Payment details should always be explicitly stated in the contract.

The athletes need to know when they’re getting paid, how much they’re getting paid, and how they will be getting paid.

For our athlete deals we used PayPal as the main payment method, but also gave a Venmo option for the students who don’t have PayPal. 

Terms and Conditions

We decided to include a general terms and conditions section at the bottom of our contract. 

This part included a shortened version of all of the information addressed above.

We also included a brief note about FTC guidelines so that the athletes had an additional resource to refer to.

Send The Contract and Start Your Deal!

After you have a solid contract drafted, send them to the athletes and wait for them to get back to you about the posts! Once that’s completed, you can take the necessary steps to start tracking your results.

Need assistance approaching an athlete? Our experts at Sweet Rose Studios are here to help!