The NIL Academy at AWNewYork 2022

By Matthew Murray. Advisor, 98Strong

Advertising Week has been one of the best annual events for years and a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with industry friends (everyone seems to be in the city), meet new people to grow one’s network, learn new best practices, be motivated by others’ success and hear about the latest and greatest.

To the latter point, what Advertising Week did with showcasing a block of five dedicated sessions on the emerging space of NIL was groundbreaking in the range of professions and topics covered. NIL has been a hot topic since becoming legal nationwide in July of last year with several events and conferences covering this new space. So, seeing it featured with the “NIL Academy” sessions was another important step in the evolution of the NCAA student athletes monetizing themselves.

Below are five videos covering each of the dedicated sessions. Each session brought their own voices from leading executives at the biggest brands and agencies to current student athletes at Harvard and Fordham. This format provided numerous perspectives on the NIL with insights on how to approach educating both the student athlete and brands who want to work with them, the many new avenues to monetize this new talent group within Gen Z, and the opportunity this provides all NCAA student athlete including the 98% that are most likely not turning professional after graduation in their collegiate sport(s) of excellence.

Featured with the videos is an infographic that 98Strong produced for Advertising Week to share on the “NCAA Student Athletes Mind Body Balance” by surveying 400 of their community members. There are lots of great takeaways for agencies, brands, investors, etc. from this visualized data.

  • Session Highlights:
    • Brendan Gahan, Chief Social Officer at Mekanism talks about how the influencer space continues to expand and what NIL brings that’s new.
    • Steven Vigilante, Head of Growth at OLIPOP shares their success doing monthly hyper-targeted activations with 98Strong’s community of student athletes to support their retail launches.
    • Andrew Mavis, co-Founder & CEO at 98Strong tells his journey from a former student athlete training for the Olympics to shifting his focus to launch 98Strong for the 98% of student athletes.
    • Niko Katsuyoshi from Harvard and Kyla Hill from Fordham discuss their views as current student athletes that are content creators, influencers and ambassadors. Niko also shares how he got to one million followers on TikTok before college.

2022 NCAA Student Athlete Infographic

  • Session Highlights:
    • 400 NCAA Student Athletes in 98Strong’s community were surveyed on their approach to mind body balance and this infographic highlights the top insights.
  • Session Highlights:
    • Opening dialogue where Lance Pillersdorf, CEO of Advertising Week interviews Mitchell Pinta, Deputy AD at University of Wisconsin on how his role has exploded with new work and opportunity since NIL became legal.
  • Session Highlights:
    • The Varsity Collective shares their mission to educate and support student athletes with Brooks Bollinger provides the perspective of a Rose Bowl champion, Rob Master explains the true opportunity NIL is and will be providing brands and Kim Kelleher’s seasoned leadership and discerning wisdom. This group will be one to watch in NIL.
  • Session Highlights:
    • Doug Williams professional sports broadcast interview style guides a conversation with one of the best CMO’s at the event this year, Pat O’Toole of Mountain Dew, who shares what he sees coming from NIL.
  • Session Highlights:
    • The combination of world-class agent Cecil White at WME Sports and CEO of MarketPryce, Jason Bergman, a leading tech platform for NCAA student athletes discuss their different, but similar perspectives on NIL with Earl Silas directing the conversation around what many want to learn.