Licensing deal opens doors for sale of Georgia Tech athlete jerseys


Yellow Jackets jerseys could be sold at campus bookstores and on the Tech website. Haynes said Brandr said the company is working to make jerseys available at sporting goods stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods.

The Group License Agreement is different from other NIL agreements, such as sponsorship agreements that individual athletes may enter into with a company for personal appearance or agreements with collectives funded by school supporters, and n does not preclude athletes from participating in either arrangement. Athletes who sign on to the Brandr Agreement authorize the agency to use their collective NIL rights in agreements bearing the school’s marks or logos.

Other examples of possible products include a Georgia Tech-branded t-shirt with team member names or images, a ball or helmet with athlete signatures, and non-fungible tokens. Without a collective licensing agreement, Tech athletes could sell a T-shirt with their images, name or jersey number on it, but there could be no Tech trademarks. Working with Tech’s licensing partners, Brandr can set up agreements for athletes who also use the school’s logos and marks.

“Let’s say Coca-Cola wanted to do a top-five package with the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team,” Haynes said. “It could happen. Or even stadium cuts. Many people ask us: “Give us the means to make it work. And I kind of turn it around and say, “Look at pro sports and, quite frankly, tell me what category couldn’t work that way.”

Other athletic departments that have signed Brandr include Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Haynes said his company’s expectation was for 80% to 90% of a school’s athletes to sign with the agency, but the return has often been even higher.

“We have the whole Michigan football team, all the Ohio State and Alabama football teams,” he said.

Athletes would not be paid upfront, but would receive payment if agreements are reached that use their NIL. Athletes would be paid equally for a product such as video games or a team autographed ball. An athlete would receive a royalty for an individualized product such as a jersey with their name and number on it. Haynes said for a jersey costing around $100, an athlete can expect to receive around $10 in royalties.

Haynes is particularly bullish on jersey sales. Jersey makers have avoided offering products to many star players in recent years, no doubt fearing they will be seen as taking advantage of these athletes without paying them. The numbers available or for sale on Tech jerseys are generally #1 and the year (i.e. 21 in 2021). As a result, they typically make up about 1 to 2 percent of college apparel sales, but about 20 percent in professional sports, Haynes said.

“I think it may start years 1 and 2 slowly, but I think it will be thousands of dollars per player over time,” Haynes said.

While male soccer and basketball athletes are likely more likely to achieve these levels of income, Haynes said athletes in less visible sports who have achieved high levels of recognition could also benefit.

Another next step for Brandr is bringing former players into the fold. Calvin Johnson and Joe Hamilton jerseys would likely have a market for Tech fans.

“It will happen, but, frankly, right now it’s just about trying to get current athletes,” Haynes said.

The wildly popular EA Sports soccer video game (which is set to return in 2023) is an obvious possibility for a group licensing deal. Brandr recently partnered with another company that will help them explore and develop possibilities for sports video games. Haynes said similar games for other sports are on his radar.

“It gives us the opportunity to play college golf, women’s soccer or women’s softball,” he said. “So for us, yes, the one everyone is pointing to is the college football video game, but I think that gives us a chance to have five to 10 types of video game licenses.”

Could a Jeff Sims bobblehead doll or a Deebo Coleman poster be available to fans before too long, with sales of these items going into the pockets of these athletes?

“For us, this is really the start of the NIL group rights program,” Haynes said.


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