On July 1, 2021, the world of college sports changed. NIL came into being and for the first time, college athletes have the opportunity to make money by selling their name, image and likeness (NIL) rights.

What does this mean from a business perspective?

  • Student-athletes gained in 2021 the right to make money from their names, images, and likenesses.
  • The billion-dollar industry has exploded thanks to brand deals, startups, and donor-backed collectives.

Name, image, and likeness, or NIL, has redefined college athletics in the past two years. Student-athlete influencers have become key parts of marketing strategies for companies and capitalized on their athletic performance to bring in previously unattainable levels of fame and fortune.

College athletes make money by posting branded content on social media and attending events with fans. A few athletes bring in millions of dollars in deals each year, but most athletes make a couple hundred dollars for attending an event or a social media campaign.

The NIL market is worth an estimated $1 billion annually.

NIL opportunities like autograph signings and appearances at fundraisers and account for 80% of the money flowing to student-athletes. The remaining 20% comes from brand deals.

Many new companies have popped up and pivoted to become major players in the space, helping athletes design and sell their own merchandise, connect with brands for campaigns, and make money on jersey sales. 

Some athletes in widely followed sports scored deals worth five or six figures. But many of the 460,000-plus student-athletes across the US ended up working with local businesses like restaurants or participating in one-off marketing campaigns with bigger brands, and receiving free products, gift cards, or smaller cash payments, rather than big paydays, for their NIL promotions.

The business opportunity is to make sense of NIL and that is where EKSPERIENCE comes in.

Eksperience is the first of its kind technology platform for athletes, initially designed to create easier  and more meaningful access between fans and the athletes that they love.  The brainchild of Austin Ekeler, running back for the Los Angeles Chargers, Eksperience’s mission is to help ALL athletes develop and monetize connections with their fans through a select set of personalized  offerings (e.g., custom videos, “Game with me”, “Sign my stuff”, etc.).  These personalized offerings are designed to provide deep and meaningful connections  that will undoubtedly propel the equity of the athletes’ personal brand forward.  Eksperience will further strengthen the connection between the athlete and the fan through its explicit link to the institution/club/league and the power of their relationship to the fan base.  Lastly, the Eksperience platform is designed to create and foster a true community by establishing a series of different vehicles where athletes can create, capture, and share their various tools, experiences, and tricks to one and other, thereby furthering their collective quest to build and grow their personal brands. 

What happens next?

Rolling out across the US next year, in partnership with major US sports colleges who are supporting their student athletes through this transition, EKSPERIENCE makes sense of the new NIL era by helping colleges help their students.

The investment proposition

EKSPERIENCE is looking to rapidly expand in college sports given the NIL opportunities and beyond that into professional sports in the US and beyond. The business is funded and capitalized but we are looking for partners who see the opportunities in the way that we do.

If you would be interested in having a discussion about investment opportunities, please contact Bill Ekeler @