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The NIL Possibilities Are Endless For Everyone

“Opportunities abound for college athletes, but so too for universities if they can find a way to partner with their students.”

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At first, it seemed that the NCAA was dead set against awarding college athletes their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights, or commonly referred to in the legal setting, rights of publicity.  With rights of publicity there comes infringement, and the consequences are termed torts: 

“The right of publicity prevents the unauthorized commercial use of an individual’s name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one’s persona.  It gives an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their identity for commercial promotion.  In the United States, the right of publicity is largely protected by state common or statutory law.  Only about half the states have distinctly recognized a right of publicity.  Of these, many do not recognize a right by that name but protect it as part of the Right of Privacy.  The Restatement Second of Torts recognizes four types of invasions of privacy: intrusion, appropriation of name or likeness, unreasonable publicity, and false light.”

Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute

However, as states began to see a way to give access to college athletes through legislation that specifically provided a pathway to profit from their NIL, the NCAA changed course.  The universities were quicker to adapt and immediately began hiring experts to advise on best practices to implement NIL education, programs, partnerships, and licensing.  The laws that states passed (or even states that did not pursue NIL legislation) were mostly ceremonial because rights of publicity have existed in common law (e.g., English law that is derived from custom and judicial precedent juxtaposed with statutory law) for hundreds of years.  What the states did was move up the clock and force the NCAA’s hand to decide from a regulatory and compliance standpoint.  

Universities have expressed varying levels of support for NIL.  The Pac-12, whose main catalyst includes four universities from the state of California, was the first state to pass NIL legislation (“The Fair Pay to Play Act”), but the enactment date is not until 2023.  Nevertheless, to highlight the aforementioned point, athletes in California began profiting from their NIL immediately.  High school students in certain local communities may also profit from their NIL depending on various rules and regulations.  The Pac-12 then took it a step further by being the first athletic conference, let alone a Power Five conference that has already agreed to schedule arrangements with two of five other major conferences (the ACC and BigTen), to allow college athletes to use highlights from broadcasts in their NIL.  

College athletes being able to utilize copyrighted broadcast footage without having to pay large licensing fees cannot be overstated as highly valuable.  The ability to use and coordinate broadcast footage with the universities’, networks’ and streamers’ assistance will only increase the exposure for the athletes’ profitability.  The universities, networks, advertisers, and streamers also stand to benefit greatly because the broadcasts they own will be shared across social media platforms reaching a younger set of fans that would not normally watch sports. 

The New York State Legislature did introduce legislation in 2020 that would have split broadcast revenue with college athletes, but that was a nonstarter for universities, networks, and streamers.  College athletes being able to profit from their NIL, while not having to pay or being prohibited from using copyrighted broadcast footage from games is a great compromise.

Meanwhile, Apple, EA Sports, Google, and Facebook are all making major strides in sports, health, and tech development to benefit sports.  Apple Watch is tracking biometric data.  Facebook is working with Google to create something similar on various platforms.  EA Sports is discussing a new video game where college athletes profit from the intellectual property used in the gaming simulation.

Speaking of profit, will college athletes be able to create and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) when using broadcast footage?  With Spotify becoming a streamer of content beyond music and podcasts, will college athletes also seek podcasting and series original opportunities?  Sports documentaries are on the rise and exceedingly popular—why not the Hard Knocks of College Sports?      

Facebook created a social media fantasy sports gaming application and feature—making it simpler to play and share.  High school sports, the feeder for college athletic talent, is developing an application through Elysian Park Ventures (controlled by the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group) to help fundraise for high school athletes and programs

George Kliavkoff (@Kliavkoff) | Twitter

Sports betting and college sports have yet to develop fully, but Caesars Entertainment purchased naming rights to the Fiesta Bowl and the University of Colorado signed a five-year deal with PointsBet.  It is of note, possibly, that the Pac-12 hired George Kliavkoff, a sports gaming executive out of Las Vegas, Nevada to be the commissioner for the conference.  Whether Kliavkoff’s hire leads to more entertainment and a higher broadcast premium price and/or sports betting sponsorship deals is likely for the first and less likely for the latter based on California’s current stance on sports betting.

Opportunities abound for college athletes, but so too for universities if they can find a way to partner with their students.  

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BSM Writers

Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC

“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”

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NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade.  A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well.  However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).

NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season.  NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.

NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.  

Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.

Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.

If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.

“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”

Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm. 

“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”

While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.

Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock. 

Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week. 

My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic.  When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV.  Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams.  After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England.  They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.

I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.

I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters. 

By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.

Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.

Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.”  NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.

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BSM Writers

6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio

“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”

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For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.

Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

Well, let’s go Digging for Gold. 

The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.

Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.

If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way?  I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:

  • Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
  • Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
  • Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
  • Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
  • FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $ 
  • Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months

The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details. 

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