GSE Worldwide is expanding its services to reach deeper into the college athletics market. The new division is solely dedicated to negotiating name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals for GSE’s collegiate clients.
GSE has already dabbled in the NIL space, representing athletes such as Alabama standout athletes John Metchie (football) and Jahvon Quinerly (basketball).
Russ Spielman, Senior Executive Vice President at GSE, addressed some lessons learned from working with college athletes this past season. He said, “managing everyone’s expectations” was critically noteworthy moving forward into a more robust dive into working in NIL. Another lesson Spielman mentioned was realizing there are “so many little pieces of minutiae, so that if you address all of that in advance, it’ll make things easier as you progress.”
Spielman acknowledged the priorities of student-athletes. They’re college students who play a sport on top of going to class and studying. Social media comes secondary, and it is unrealistic to expect it to be a full-time job. With that said, GSE will listen to the career aspirations of its clients and involve the athletes in opportunities that will help propel them in whichever direction they choose. Some of the more accessible prospects Spielman anticipates are memorabilia and trading cards. In addition, QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) show a lot of potential for athletes to capitalize on their NIL.
While some athletes at big-name programs may have more opportunities off the bat, Spielman recognizes other factors, like narrative, are equally important in an athlete’s ability to attract deals. “People like the Cavinder twins and others who are great social media personalities. We’re with Jahvon Quinerly, who plays basketball at Alabama is a good social media personality,” said Spielman. “People are gravitating to that. … Marketing is much more of an art than a science.”
Since NIL has taken college athletics by storm, some unlikely sports have emerged as promising opportunities for student-athletes. New creative developments like the “Next In Line” program launched by the WWE offer athletes a route to unique collaborative partnerships that may otherwise not be available to them. “We might not have previously considered wrestling as a sport to focus on,” Spielman said. “I personally have an affinity for lacrosse, where I might give that more time and attention.”