Thanks to NAIA NIL rules, Aquinas collegiate volleyball player becomes the first to monetize her personal brand

The future is here. Chloe Mitchell, a Freshman volleyball player at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this week became one of the first collegiate athletes to create, post and monetize their brand on social media.

In October 2020 the NAIA began enabling athletes to capitalize on names, likenesses and likenesses in the burgeoning collegiate athlete market. Mitchell is already a seasoned social media veteran with 2.6 million followers tick tock, 26,000 followers on Instagram, and 5,400 fans youtube. Known as the She Shed connoisseur, she also co-founded the NIL platform Booked, in which she started her first promotion, called DIY-A gift for dad. In the video, she promotes two different types of golf putters that her company has partnered with. She combines her skills by creating new environments and “activates” the golf partnership by designing her own miniature golf course.

PlayBookeds Advisory Board They include NBA veteran Anthony Tolliver (Creighton University), Super Bowl champion Walter Thurmond III (Oregon), AJ Management’s Avery Johnson Jr. (Alabama), Brown Agency Group’s Quenton Brown (Central Florida University), retired pro volleyball player Albert Hannemann (UCLA) and Greg Oden, former NBA No. 1 overall champion in 2007 (Ohio St.).

Mitchell represents a first step in demonstrating the potential for thousands of collegiate athletes to reach a loyal audience cultivated through high school. With unique products and businesses looking to target a specific demographic to grow their sales, Mitchell fuels their success through engaged followers across three different social media platforms.

Many of the emerging companies that focus on athlete NILs encourage education, personal branding and navigating sports governance rules. Other companies add sponsorship connections, in-person video chats, and autograph sessions as part of their package for each athlete.

With so much focus on the big names in collegiate sports like Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Alabama’s Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith and others, much of the media attention has focused on predicting how much money high-profile players can make in 2021.

ESPN has estimated for All-Americans (in high-profile sports) that the number could be in the range of $500,000 to $2 million, including social media, camps, clothing stores, and side businesses.

The typical revenue-generating athlete could make anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 a year, all inclusive.

Not-for-profit athletes like Mitchell aim for a smaller amount (perhaps in the $15,000-$20,000 range), but she has a stake in the company, giving her a stake in each athlete’s success.

Many brands view collegiate athletes showing potential in the social marketing space as “investments” with a lower financial entry point but with hopes of huge upside.

Some sports enthusiasts were quick to write off athletes like Mitchell (and those from the NAIA and NCAA Division II and III schools) because they aren’t on TV, aren’t heavily promoted by their schools, and probably don’t have a professional sports career ahead of them to have. Mitchell’s reps are yet to respond to an inquiry about her NIL earnings. The ultimate arbiter will be the market and the athlete’s personality and their ability to exploit it.

This is a milestone. There’s something to be said for pioneers, and while it may not look like a Dorito or Gatorade commercial, Chloe Mitchell made her mark as one of the very first athletes to step into this brave new world of NIL in collegiate sports.

About Gloria Skelton

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