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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Making Moves in NIL

  • Agencies have already gone after the biggest athletes in several different sports.
  • They've also already facilitated many NIL deals, from merchandise to brand endorsements.
Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks

The NIL era isn’t even three months old, but agencies have already gone after the biggest athletes in several different sports.

Here’s a look at some of the highest-profile names whose sponsorships are handled by major agencies: 

  • CAA: Alabama QB Bryce Young, Duke basketball player Paolo Banchero, and Maryland WR Rakim Jarrett. 
  • Everett Sports Marketing: Georgia QB JT Daniels, Fresno State basketball players Hanna and Haley Cavinder, and UNC QB Sam Howell. 
  • Klutch Sports: USC QB Kedon Slovis. 
  • Steinberg Sports & Entertainment: Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler, Liberty QB Malik Willis, South Carolina safety RJ Roderick, and Coastal Carolina CB D’Jordan Strong.
  • Wasserman Sports: UConn basketball player Paige Bueckers, UNT soccer player (and former trailblazing kicker at Vanderbilt) Sarah Fuller.
  • WME: LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne.

These agencies have facilitated many of the deals you’ve probably already heard of. WME facilitated Dunne’s partnership with Vuori, and Wasserman helped create Fuller’s clothing line. 

Agents argue that without their help, athletes could be exploited. Burney offered some advice when it comes to one certain type of deal: autographs. 

“You have guys telling kids, ‘Hey, come here and sign for two hours and I’ll pay you X amount,” he said. It’s the fly-by-night memorabilia companies you have to be concerned about, not the major ones. 

“They will tell you, ‘Hey, don’t tell your agent. Don’t tell your manager. You won’t have to pay taxes. I will give you cash.”

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