New NIL online marketplace connects fans to college athletes

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Fans who wish to financially support college athletes through name, image and likeness offerings can now do so with just a few clicks online.

Opendorse, a company that partners with dozens of schools to help initiate, track and monitor NIL deals, launched an online marketplace on Monday where fans can go directly to athletes to buy their autographs, appearances personal information and their publications on social networks.

On Opendorse.com, school-specific pages will be available for the company’s partner universities. Through these pages, users can access athlete profiles with rates for various services.

“Collectives have dominated conversations on NIL, but where are the fans in this conversation?” said Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence. “Most of them don’t know where to go and what it costs.”

Lawrence likened Opendorse’s new service to what Fanatics has done with online team products.

Lawrence said company data revealed that in the first year college athletes are allowed to earn money through endorsements and sponsorshipsonly 4% of athletes have agreements with fans.

While there’s a growing desire among fans to buy the services of college athletes, they “can’t just give this kid money and call him SUCKY.”

“It’s really to help sports fans: it’s where you go, it’s what you do and it’s what it costs,” Lawrence said.

Using data it gathered from over 100,000 NIL offers disclosed by athletes to schools, Opendorse created an athlete rate card to set prices for items such as autographs and appearances. .

For most athletes, those transactions are valued at well under $100, though some can run into the thousands, Lawrence said.

Payments are made by credit card.

“We have already secured payment and when (the athletes) perform the services as defined, they will receive payment,” Lawrence said.

Opendorse is already working with schools to monitor agreements for compliance with state laws, school policies, and NCAA rules.

With “a NIL deal done through Opendorse, security comes first for us,” Lawrence said. “Off-platform trades are the riskiest of all.”

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Edward N. Arrington