Building the Momentum

    • When the Olympics fade from the news cycle, Olympians in college will still have their increased followings, fan bases, and hopefully more competition and accolades.
    • But they’ll also have to stay relevant enough to keep making money off NIL when their sports don’t enjoy the same spotlight as in an Olympic year.

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When the Olympics fade from the news cycle, Olympians in college will still have their increased followings, their fan bases, and hopefully more competition and accolades.

But they’ll also have to make sure they stay relevant enough to keep making money off NIL when their sports don’t enjoy the same spotlight as in an Olympic year.

Keeping it Real

In order to “stay relevant,” athletes should keep posting on social, Anand said. What’s more, they should start sharing more of their off-field lives — if they haven’t already. 

“Some athletes post a lot of pictures of them on the track with their medals,” Anand said. “It’s just really important for athletes to show their personal side.” That’s because brands are looking for “authentic” connections between their products and athletes’ interests. 

For example, an athlete who frequently posts photos with their children may draw the interest of brands looking to market to mothers interested in fitness.

Brenkus said that momentum comes from “aligning yourself with the right people.” Making sure a brand is “reflective of who you are as a person” will last longer than “chasing dollars.”

Ripple Effect?

Olympians heading to college campuses could help the NIL earning potential of their teammates, too. 

An Olympian could boost ticket sales and viewership as well as teammates’ social media followings, Anand said. Plus, a brand doing a deal with an Olympian could realize it wants to partner with the athlete’s teammates.

In other words, maybe Suni Lee’s stint at Auburn can help the squad rival UCLA’s potential NIL power.