University of Alabama launches an online NIL entity
The GIST: Another day, another innovation in the name, image and likeness (NIL) era. On Thursday, the University of Alabama launched Yea Alabama, an online NIL entity that allows both fans and sponsors to contribute to the school and its athletes.
The details: Yea Alabama offers three levels of participation — a monthly subscription to exclusive content and experiences that benefits student-athletes, a donation portal for the Walk of Champions nonprofit and a landing page for prospective sponsors.
- The website performs many of the same functions as third-party NIL collectives, like collecting funds for players or facilitating deals between players and brands. However, Alabama specifically describes the site as an “entity,” not a collective.
The context: The school is stepping up its NIL game this year, thanks to a new 15-year deal with marketing company Learfield. The pair plan to open The Advantage Center this year, an IRL NIL hub inside Alabama’s football stadium that includes spaces to strike deals and capture content, as well as live tracking of the latest agreements. Roll Tide, indeed.
Zooming out: From launching entities to hiring general managers, schools are increasingly shifting NIL operations in-house, even if it requires inventing new platforms and roles. It’s easy to understand why — a respectable NIL set-up will only boost a university’s credentials to prospective recruits.
- Alabama’s new NIL entity also has the potential to shake up the space, both by reinventing the way athletic departments receive contributions and by minimizing the impact of collectives along the way. Watch this space.