Since July 1, 2021 college athletes are allowed to profit from their name, image and likeness which is often abbreviated to NIL. Because of its newness, the world of NIL is commonly referred to as the Wild, Wild West. As a business owner looking to engage in this space, navigating these waters can be uncertain. How do you reach out to an athlete? What is/is not allowed? How does this align with your brand? There are a lot of factors at play.
Earlier this year, we profiled how businesses in the 217 might engage in the NIL space. And while we don’t want to recap that whole blog post here, we do want to encourage you to experiment with how your business can participate in the NIL space. In the year+ that NIL has existed, we’ve seen a number of local businesses have great success when utilizing NIL to elevate their brand.
The most recent of those being Harrington Law. The firm which has been serving Champaign-Urbana since 1922, has partnered with Illinois football players Johnny Newton and Keith Randolph to help raise money for the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club.
Early in the football season, head coach Brett Bielema coined the “Law Firm” title for the defensive duo. Harrington Law saw an opportunity to work with student-athletes in away that aligned with their brand and jumped onboard quick. Throughout the season, Harrington Law has been donating $100 to the Boys & Girls Club for each sack The Law Firm of Newton & Randolph (and their associates, aka the Illini defense) has made.
The second piece of the partnership between the actual law firm and the “law firm” of Newton & Randolph was to produce apparel as a fundraiser. And, that’s where we came in. Campus Ink has a long history of creating online store fundraisers for schools, booster clubs, organizations and more. Our process makes it easy on our customers. We handle the process from design all the way to individual bagging and shipping.
We worked with Harrington Law to come up with a design concept, built the online store and helped promote the apparel.
Andrew Harrington, partner at Harrington Law, explains the process, “I wanted to do something memorable for Harrington Law’s 100 year anniversary and give back to the community in which we have served for 100 years. I heard Coach Bielema refer to Keith Randolph and Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton as “The Law Firm” so I thought it would be cool to do some sort of NIL deal with Keith and Johnny as the Law Firm of Newton & Randolph. After approaching Keith and Johnny with a charity based NIL concept supporting the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club they were totally on board as they also want to help the kids in our community. One part of our NIL deal was having apparel rights to make Law Firm of Newton & Randolph t-shirts and have the proceeds go to the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club. I reached out to Campus Ink asking for their help as I wasn’t sure how the t-shirt aspect of the NIL deal would work. Jenna at Campus Ink got back to me right away and knew exactly how to accomplish our goal. She and her team sent me an amazing t-shirt design within days and included details about how the online store would be set up for fundraising purposes. The online store opened soon after and sold a bunch of shirts raising over $1,500 for the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club. Keith and Johnny are also set to make an appearance at the Club, hand out Law Firm t-shirts to all the kids and staff, and present the donations to the Club. Overall the campaign was an amazing success and it wouldn’t have been possible without Campus Ink’s incredible staff. I would absolutely do this again in the future!”
This situation is a perfect example of how a business can utilize NIL partnerships to elevate their brand, give back to the community and support student-athletes. If your business is looking to jump into the NIL space, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to answer questions, offer advice and connect you to others.