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NIL: Life, deals and taxes

College

March 21, 2022
C. MORGAN ENGEL/NCAA PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES
C. MORGAN ENGEL/NCAA PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: Another day, another name, image and likeness (NIL) deal. Tax prep company H&R Block endorsed six more student athletes on Thursday — including Florida gymnast Trinity Thomas and Georgia softball player Jaiden Fields — as part of its “A Fair Shot” initiative to invest $1 million in female college athletes.

The details: Outside of the traditional scope of the partnership, the endorsement comes with perks — H&R Block will provide the athletes free tax prep and the athletes will work with H&R Block on initiatives that support girls and young women in sports.

  • The new deals come after the company endorsed two basketball players — Iowa’s Caitlin Clark (who, along with her fellow Hawkeyes, was shockingly knocked out of March Madness yesterday) and South Carolina’s Zia Cooke — at the beginning of the month.

Zooming out: H&R Block’s strategy is a classic example of values-based marketing, an approach that’s reaping rewards by signing top talent. The aforementioned Thomas said she likes to partner with companies that share her values, demonstrating that athletes won’t team up with just anyone to make a buck.

  • Thomas echoes the stance of millennials and Gen Zs, who tend to prioritize social responsibility when making major decisions. Centering ethics and values is becoming key for brands when courting endorsements and customers.