GSE Worldwide is expanding its services to deepen the varsity athletics market. The new division is solely dedicated to negotiating Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) agreements for GSE college clients.
GSE has dabbled in the NIL space before, representing athletes such as top Alabama athletes John Metchie (football) and Jahvon Quinerly (basketball).
Russ Spielman, senior executive vice president of GSE, touched on some lessons learned from working with varsity athletes last season. He said “managing everyone’s expectations” was very important in moving forward on a more solid dive into working in NIL. Another lesson Spielman mentioned was realizing that there are “so many little details, that if you tackle all of this in advance, it will make things easier as you go.”
Spielman recognized the priorities of student-athletes. These are students who play sports in addition to going to class and studying. Social media is secondary and it’s unrealistic to expect this to be a full-time job. That said, GSE will listen to the career aspirations of its clients and engage athletes in opportunities that will help them propel them in the direction they choose. Some of the more accessible prospects that Spielman anticipates are memorabilia and collectible cards. In addition, QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) show great potential for athletes to capitalize on their NIL.
While some athletes participating in marquee programs may have more opportunities initially, Spielman recognizes that other factors, like storytelling, are just as important in an athlete’s ability to attract offers. “People like the Caviinder twins and others who are great social media personalities. We’re with Jahvon Quinerly, who plays basketball in Alabama is a good social media personality, ”Spielman said. “People are drawn to it. … Marketing is more of an art than a science.
Since the NIL took varsity athletics by storm, some unlikely sports have become promising opportunities for student-athletes. New creative developments like WWE’s “Next In Line” program offer athletes a pathway to unique collaborative partnerships that might otherwise not be available to them. “We may not have previously seen wrestling as a sport to focus on,” said Spielman. “Personally, I have an affinity for lacrosse, where I could devote more time and attention to it.”