Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
A few quick announcements before we get into it today:
- Are you going to be in New Orleans for the Final Four? Because Extra Points will be in New Orleans for the Final Four. I'm flying out next Thursday morning and will return to Chicago on Tuesday the 5th. I'm not entirely sure what my day-to-day schedule will be like when I'm in Louisiana, but if you're going to be in the neighborhood, I'd love to say hello.
- To try and make my life a little more predictable when I'm traveling, I'd love to do a mailbag during one of those travel days. If you have questions you'd like answered, tweet me or email me at email@example.com.
In our latest episode of Going For Two, Bryan and I tried to do something a little different.
We chatted with Homefield Apparel CEO Connor Hitchcock, and director of content (and fellow SB Nation alumni) Whitney Medworth to learn a little more about how a plucky mid-major is able to turn around a big licensing deal in the middle of the dang NCAA Tournament. Because they did that, with these very cool Saint Peter's shirts.
In this episode, we talk about:
- Why it might be easier to set up licensing deals with smaller athletic departments than huge ones
- What advice they'd have for schools looking to engage their fans with licensing products after an unexpected tournament run
- All the important t-shirt industry terms to help you sound cool and in-the-know
- How they actually go about finding all of these vintage designs, and if schools ever push back on them
- and more!
You can find the video version of the podcasts on our YouTube playlist, right here/
Also in that podcast is a quick discussion of one of the biggest NIL related stories to drop this week... Adidas announcing they plan to create an NIL network for every athlete at a D-I Adidas school.
On one hand, that's a cool opportunity not just for men's basketball players, but for women's sports and Olympic sport athletes. Softball players at a place like FIU, or Sacramento State, or Longwood, might not have tons of NIL options out of the box.
But the press release was light on details (Adidas has not responded to my request to interview anybody involved in the campaign yet), so I don't know if it's time to throw anybody a parade yet. If this is just a giant affiliate program, well, that's great, but it'll mean that a lot of athletes are going to make about 38 bucks and get some shoe coupons.
Plus, there's the whole bit about Book Richardson going to jail for doing something awfully similar to all of this.
I'm open to being persuaded otherwise about this. I want to dig into this deal more. But at the moment, I think this thread, from Overtime CEO Dan Porter, lines up pretty well with my thinking:
One thing to understand. The MAJORITY of NIL deals are about MARKETING and brand POSITIONING. Not about athletes getting paid fair wages for labor. This is a great splash by Adidas. But it's essentially a referral program.
What does that mean? Every brand already has referral programs. Buy this, use my link, and I get 3% [to] 5%. So if an athlete sells $1K worth of Adidas gear to fans they might make $50. The athletes have to sell and market Adidas in order to get paid.
I am not criticizing Adidas. Or NIL. I am just saying the general non critical media adulation around NIL is a) a smoke screen for them not getting paid directly and b) more a celebration of marketing wins for brands. Great for Adidas and for athletes but keep it in perspective.
Nothing wrong with affiliate programs. I honestly might do one to promote Extra Points! But I'm not sure that I'd call it especially game-changing or revolutionary.
We'll see though!
Paid Extra Points subscribers got some extra context behind our podcast on Navigate's projections for future P5 conference revenue. They also got to read my dive into the newspaper archives to figure out exactly WHO the FIRST Cinderella squad was, which lead me to a few wild stories. They also got to read my analysis of what happens to the MAAC and Saint Peter's after this miracle Sweet 16 run, and what other mid-majors have done with their extra NCAA Unit money.
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Thanks for reading, watching and listening. I'll catch up with you next week.
To sponsor a future Extra Points newsletter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For article ideas, newsletter feedback, FOIA tips, athlete NIL sponsorships and more, I'm at email@example.com, or @MattBrownEP on Twitter