Postgame manages the largest Name, Image & Likeness campaigns in all of college sports - for many of the world's most recognized brands.
Our team consists of technology and brand experts with extensive knowledge of how to structure NIL deals at scale with thousands of college athletes.
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How Postgame and Reebok Define The New Age of NIL Partnerships
Creative casting across dozens of colleges has empowered student-athletes to headline a new campaign for some of Reebok’s most iconic models.
When Kenny McIntosh and the Georgia Bulldogs won the College Football Playoff last month, the star running back donned the school’s staple red uniform, with no less than 16 visible hits of Nike Swoosh branding across his jersey, pants, helmet, gloves, socks and cleats. Even the play card holder around his waist featured a subtle Swoosh.
In exchange for the brand visibility, Georgia nets around $40 million in total from the Swoosh in cash and product value during their decade-long deal. With their current 10-year deal set to expire soon, the next one should be exponentially more lucrative.
Luckily for McIntosh, for the last 18 months, he’s been free to cash in on his star power, too, even by representing Nike’s competitors across his own social media pages.
With the help of the Postgame platform, an agency specifically geared towards connecting collegiate athletes with brands for paid promotional NIL campaigns, McIntosh and more than 30 other players from a variety of sports and colleges recently repped Reebok in a full campaign activation.
“Reebok was reintroducing the Question, the Answer and the Classics, and they wanted to get some big-time college athletes wearing the shoes and taking a look back at Allen Iverson to represent it,” Postgame founder Bill Jula told Boardroom.
Postgame touts around 60,000 athlete users from more than 350 colleges. Those players integrate their Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter pages to the platform to track metrics like followers, impressions, and engagement.
Tallied from a total of more than 20,000 pieces of content created and shared, the platform founded in Florida has delivered over 100 million combined views across social media for its brand partners since launching.
Postgame works by sending student-athletes alerts when brands have campaigns that might fit their interests. The players can then opt in or out, and create content in support of a given launch that they want to participate in.
Of the 34 total players included in the Reebok campaign, which has run through December and January, with Foot Locker and Champs serving as the retail partner, not a single athlete wears Reebok on their respective game days. That’s because Reebok has gone away from school-wide sponsorship deals in the last decade, while still staying right in the mix of sneaker culture with ongoing retro launches and re-releases of the industry’s second-greatest brand archive from the 1990s.
Of the players incorporated into the campaign, twenty competed at Nike schools, another eight played for Jordan branded college programs, while a handful of others attended Under Armour universities and one lone athlete wore Adidas on the gridiron. There’s already another upcoming Reebok campaign powered by Postgame in the works that will feature 25 more athletes opting in.
The Postgame Approach
The NIL landscape not only represents a new era of how brands approach marketing rollouts and campaign launches, but also in how they determine longtime industry benchmarks like ROI, total impressions, and impact.
Rather than signing pro players to traditional long-term endorsement deals, brands are seeing more of a return on a wider-cast effort that splashes partner posts across dozens of well-followed younger athlete pages on Instagram or TikTok. The collegiate athletes are closer in age to a target audience of middle and high schoolers, the thinking goes, while also having a command of crafting content for their own social media pages.
“Our approach is that we offer campaigns at scale,” Jula said. “Brands might be worried about spending their entire budget on one athlete. They can accomplish more visibility and exposure by getting 100 athletes, and get 10X the total views on it.”
With participating players from powerhouse football programs like star wide receiver Isaiah Bond at Nike school Alabama, college basketball’s third-leading scorer Jordan “Jelly” Walker at UA-sponsored UAB, UNC hooper Alyssa Ustby and Olympian and Florida track star Taylor Manson, the platform has been able to bridge a blend of top stars, along with athletes who’ve shown an ability to deliver creative content.
“We want to deliver a campaign that the brands themselves would’ve had a difficult time doing,” Jula said. “Dealing with so many athletes at one time and negotiating real rates is difficult.”
As Jula points out, for a recent Crocs campaign that featured 550 athletes, Postgame established rates per post, outlined expectations for assets and timelines, and then delivered an aligned campaign of player posts across social media.
“We had five athletes in particular that people may not have heard of that created great content and got 230,000 views on Instagram,” he said. “A six-figure type player would basically get the same visibility.”
Creating Compelling Content
The wide-reaching approach to campaigns has created a lane for some athletes to rise above the rest with their creativity.
Take “E.Diamondz,” or Erin Brown, for example. The transfer is newly listed on the official track and field roster page of Grand Canyon University. Rather than mention his sprinting prowess on his Instagram bio, the 5’10” runner specifies that he’s an “Entrepreneur 💻🤵🏽” On his own “The Erin Brown” Linktree bio page, the header declaration is even more bold: “The Greatest Creator The Internet Has Ever Seen”
Creator of a running form style he dubs “The Spider,” the sprinter also sells his own merch shirts with the phrase, “Let The Clock Talk.” While not a household name like a UConn hooper or a Georgia star running back, Brown’s inclusion in the Reebok and Postgame campaign represents how NIL can elevate athletes from lesser-known programs.
“It was a great experience that allowed me to express my creative skills,” Brown said. “Something that I feel that separates me from most NIL athletes.”
From the top of a parking garage, Brown showcased the white and baby blue Reebok Questions, which Allen Iverson once wore during his Denver days.
The four-photo album production was all his own doing. A follow-up video showed him wearing both the Question and an all-white pair of the Reebok Classic. Postgame will often entrust the student-athletes to execute their imagery and content, with the athlete either capturing the assets themselves, or enlisting a friend with photo or video skills. In rare cases, Postgame will send a crew out to a priority athlete to ensure a level of quality.
“The creative freedom with me being able to create freely with no limitations is a huge plus,” Brown added of the campaign process. “I also enjoy the pressure of a due date for videos that I make, to allow my creative juices to flow rapidly.”
Another athlete that stood out in the campaign was Gabe Taylor, younger brother of late Washington safety Sean Taylor. Clad in his maroon and gold No. 21 uniform, Taylor was also laced in the clean and classic black, white, and gold Answer 1 Retro, as part of his integration into the Reebok campaign.
While the standard participation format entails athletes earning money in exchange for their posts on social media, Postgame has also worked with brands that want to incorporate the created content into their own brand pages and advertising materials.
“Sometimes a post might perform really well and the metrics were strong,” Jula said. “A lot of times, it’s the quality of the content, that the brand is looking to re-license and extend the life of by using in their own paid media content. They’re always looking for good content, and a lot of athletes are getting picked up again and again.”
There’s a straightforward way that athletes can best utilize the platform and establish themselves as strong partners for brands.
“Your metrics are your metrics,” Jula said. “Your engagement rates will be what they’re going to be. But what you can really control is creating some really high-quality content, go above and beyond with what we’re asking for, and then be reliable and timely with the process.”
In the first year, athletes that’ve shown consistency and reliability in production have seen their deals grow in volume. On the back end, there’s even a portal header named “Top Athletes Creating Awesome Content” to help brands identify players that might be a fit as a standout creator.
“Brands are definitely looking at these campaigns as a way to identify future brand ambassadors,” Jula explained. “Some of the brands we’ve worked with, they’ve done two or three campaigns with us that might run for 60 days and involve 50-100 athletes. From each of those campaigns, oftentimes they’re asking us to go back to some of those same athletes to incorporate them into future campaigns.”
While it’s now commonplace for top amateur athletes to have official representation at the college and even high school level, as Jula reveals, around 95% of the athletes using the Postgame platform are opting into a brand campaign on their own. That leaves around 5% with agents. Postgame recently hired a Director of Athlete Relations to help facilitate any conversations, negotiations, and activations with higher level representatives or larger agency teams that manage an athlete.
Postgame & The NIL Landscape Ahead
Just 18 months in, the overall Name, Image and Likeness space still carries a wild west feel at times. As Jula has noticed, two divisions of deal formats have evolved since NIL first came into effect last July 1.
“There’s the true spirit of NIL, which is what we’re doing. Whether you’re a low-level athlete or a high-level athlete there is a rate that a brand will be willing to pay,” he said. “And then, there’s collectives and pay-for-play NIL. No brand would ever really spend that amount for what the ROI would actually be. That’s a collective or a booster that wants to see his or her team win. That’s a whole other thing.”
When million-dollar deals do get leaked or announced, they’re typically in tandem with a school securing a prospective athlete’s signing. Within the rules, that’s technically in play, and also a refreshing element of simple open market demand that allows for the true superstar prospects to monetize the starting point of their college careers.
As Jula sees it, rather than splashing money through a collective at an athlete and then leaving them to create and execute content, schools could offer more resources for the athletes looking to build their digital imprints.
“If I was a school, I would lend out my marketing team in the athletic department to help athletes create content,” he added. “If I was bringing recruits in, you used to show them the stadium, the locker room and the weight room. I would walk them right into a video production room, and say, ‘This is where you’re going to make money.’ I would make that the focus of a recruiting trip now.”
As the landscape continues to evolve, inventive athletes have been able to generate five or even six figures a year.
“Over the last year and a half, the quality of the content has dramatically improved, across the board,” Jula said. “These athletes are seeing each other create content for NIL campaigns, and the bar just keeps getting raised. That’s part of why the brands keep coming back. They’re getting a library of great content.”
The Unexpected Trend With NIL Apparel Sponsors
One of the biggest questions in the early name, image, and likeness era concerned whether athletes would sign deals with apparel companies that competed with their schools’ sponsors. The majority of athletes appear to be sticking with their school’s apparel brands: South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston inked a long-term deal with Under Armour; UCLA’s Reilyn Turner signed with Nike; and hundreds of athletes at Adidas schools have begun to work with the company.
But a select few have deviated.
How are they allowed to do so? Some state laws allow schools to prohibit athletes from inking partnerships with their sponsors’ competitors — but others don’t have any such requirements.
One of the first athletes Adidas signed was golfer Rose Zhang, who played for Nike school Stanford.
Startup women’s basketball shoe brand Moolah Kicks has inked more than 40 NIL deals, despite the fact that the D-I athletes like Aijha Blackwell of Baylor and Taylor Soule of Virginia Tech aren’t allowed to play in the shoes.
Reebok has launched a campaign with NIL agency Postgame - attracting dozens of athletes from Georgia football players Kenny McIntosh and Darnell Washington to UAB basketball player Jordan “Jelly” Walker.
Even Under Armour has signed a few athletes to its program that don’t go to Under Armour schools.
As Bill Jula, co-founder and CEO of Postgame, pointed out to Front Office Sports, there’s an argument to be made that several activewear brands shouldn’t count as direct “competitors” to school sponsor brands, as they aren’t in the business of team contracts. Postgame has helped many athletes sign with activewear brands, and have only run into issues with schools once or twice.
Even when these types of deals are permitted, however, there’s a major drawback: Brands won’t get as much exposure from athletes who are contractually obligated to wear different companies’ apparel during games or other school-sponsored events. But pulling an athlete away from its original sponsor can actually be a successful marketing ploy.
"When athletes post about brands they choose to partner with, rather than brands their schools require them to wear, it “has the potential to across as more authentic,” Jula said. Postgame has helped facilitate both Reebok and Adidas deals.
Moolah Kicks founder Natalie White echoed that sentiment. “I think it says something pretty strong that when players have a choice, the choice is Moolah Kicks,” White previously said.
In other cases, signing an athlete could be less a specific strategy and more just a necessary evil. Charece Williams Gee, Under Armour’s senior director and head of sports marketing and partnerships, previously told FOS that Under Armour sometimes signs athletes from non-UA schools because “their values just align.”
Postgame Launches Reebok NIL Campaign Featuring Star Athletes
The sports marketing agency Postgame launched a campaign with Reebok in December that features 60 athletes, including a number of star college football and basketball players. Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh and tight end Darnell Washington each signed an NIL deal through the campaign, as did Alabama wide receiver Isaiah Bond.
The participating athletes will promote shoes including the Allen Iverson Reebok Question Mids, Allen Iverson Reebok Answer DMXs and the all-white Reebok Classics. They’ll also promote either Foot Locker or Champs Sports, where the shoes are available.
Postgame founder and CEO Bill Jula said in a phone interview the participating athletes must post an Instagram Reel and an Instagram post featuring a carousel of photos. Athletes have the option to post on TikTok rather than the Instagram Reel. Jula said the athletes will earn different levels of compensation based on factors such as the size of their social media followings and their engagement rates.
Florida track runner Taylor Manson, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, and Oklahoma forward Madi Williams, a two-time unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection, are two of the headlining athletes who compete in track and field, and basketball, respectively.
Jula said the agency’s goal in sourcing athletes was “trying to get a nice cross-sampling of a combination of male and female [athletes], basketball and football, some different sports. Just kind of spread it around a little bit.”
UCLA guards Tyger Campbell and Jaylen Clark, and UAB guard Jordan “Jelly” Walker, who’s the leading scorer in men’s college basketball, are some of the notable men’s basketball players who are participating in the campaign. Master P’s son Mercy Miller, who’s a combo guard at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and who committed to Houston, is also participating.
Athletes at Nike, Under Armour schools participate in campaign
It’s notable that all of the college athletes who are participating in the Reebok campaign attend schools that have contracts with Jordan Brand, Nike or Under Armour, according to Jula. Alabama, Florida and Georgia’s apparel partner is Nike.
UCLA’s apparel partner is Jordan Brand after it settled a lawsuit with Under Armour. Oklahoma has also partnered with Jordan Brand. Over their lifetime, apparel contracts can be worth eight or nine figures for universities. UCLA and Under Armour originally agreed to a 15-year, $280-million contract. However, the athletes involved in the Reebok campaign are promoting the shoes of a competitor of their school’s apparel provider.
“Obviously you’re at Ohio State, Georgia, wherever, you’re on the biggest stage with the most pressure to be wearing Nike, right? Or Under Armour, whoever they’re sponsored by,” Jula said. “The willingness to do it is one thing and to then go and also create really good content behind the brand too is a whole other thing to put in the effort.”
Postgame helped facilitate a campaign with Reebok during the holiday season in 2021, too. It featured athletes like former Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft, and former Arizona guard Dalen Terry, who was the No. 18 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Jula said there have only been two or three examples of athletes who have been unable to participate in a campaign that Postgame facilitated due to the athlete’s school having a contract with a competitor. Institutional policies and state laws can limit the types of NIL activities athletes can pursue but Jula said that in his experience, it’s not common for athletes’ potential brand partners to be limited based on their school’s contractual relationships.
“That’s few and far between,” Jula said.
College Athletes Make Their Mark In Urban Outfitters Campaign
The lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters has partnered with 29 NCAA Division I athletes in NIL deals as part of a campaign during the back-to-school season in which they’ll showcase how they “make their mark,” according to a press release. The NIL agency Postgame helped connect the athletes and the brand through its network of roughly 60,000 college athletes.
The Urban Outfitters campaign will feature athletes who are household names for fans of their respective sports. Stanford women’s basketball player Cameron Brink, Georgia running back Kendall Milton and defensive back Kelee Ringo, and Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown are part of the campaign. The campaign features 11 women, and athletes from 10 different sports and 20 different schools.
“In collaboration with Postgame, Urban Outfitters will work with the participating athletes to showcase how they ‘Make their Mark’ in all aspects of student-athlete life, whether it be on the field or on campus,” the release stated. “The campaign will include a variety of social media posts by each athlete over a number of weeks wearing UO apparel and showcasing UO Home’s dorm decor assortment. UO’s diverse community can follow along on social media as the athletes share their favorite products and how they fit into their daily routines.”
The athletes partnering with Urban Outfitters
While some third-party companies that provide NIL resources or education sign contracts with specific institutions or conferences, Postgame does not.
“We’re an open network,” Postgame CEO Bill Jula previously told On3 over the summer. “We have no allegiance to any specific program, conference, anything. We don’t have any contracts with schools. So we’re as open a universe as imaginable.”
The 29 athletes who are part of the campaign will provide social media endorsements. They’ll also have the opportunity to make in-store appearances at select Urban Outfitters locations. The lifestyle retailer has more than 200 stores in the U.S.
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Texas’ Overshown will attend Urban Outfitters’ College Night programming in Austin. The athletes in the campaign will be featured on Urban Outfitters’ platforms “throughout the quarter.”
The complete list of athletes who are participating in the Urban Outfitters campaign with Postgame is below:
Stanford University: Cameron Brink
University of Georgia: Kelee Ringo
University of Michigan: A.J. Henning
UCLA: Margzetta Frazier
USC: Brenden Rice
FSU: Cam’Ron Fletcher
Texas: DeMarvion Overshown
University of Georgia: Kendall Milton
Penn State: Anna Camden
Arizona State: Chad Johnson Jr.
U of L: Hercy Miller
Georgia Tech: Devion Smith
Penn State: Ishaan Jagiasi
UCLA: Janelle Meono Ivy
University of Arizona: Lauren Ware
Georgia State: Tony McCray
IU: Malachi Holt-Bennett
Drexel University: Ronnie Gunter
Penn State: Beau Bartlett
St. John’s: Tyler Roche
UPenn: Madison Leibman
Tennessee: Chandler Hayden
Tennessee: Jonas Aidoo
Villanova University: Trey Patterson
FSU: Allison Royalty
Columbia: Jaida Patrick
IU: Jordyn Levy
Tennessee: Rickea Jackson
Postgame App Unleashes An Army of NILLIONAIRES.
The app that started as a way to measure student-athletes’ NIL value has grown into a full-service agency connecting national brands with thousands of college athletes, an NFT marketplace, and “NIL Coin,” its own cryptocurrency.
Phase I: Brand Services
Sarasota, FL - July 1, 2021 will go down as one of the most significant days in the history of college athletics. From that point forward, student-athletes were able to start monetizing their personal brands. When that day hit, Postgame already had a database of thousands of college athletes and an estimate of how much it would cost brands to do a deal with them.
To start, Postgame had to go to brands and pitch their services, which wasn’t hard, considering everything it offers. “We do everything for the brand from A to Z,” said Postgame CEO & Founder, Bill Jula. “We have 6,000-plus athletes with significant followings on our network ready to endorse; We ask the brand who they are trying to reach... and specifically what type of athletes they want to work with based on geography, sport, gender and more. We then recruit our athletes into the campaign and allow the brand to ultimately choose who they want to work with. It could be 20 athletes it could be 2,000 depending on their budget. We're built to manage any size campaign."
While Postgame has its database of athletes, Jula notes that the company is not an agency and hasn’t signed any athlete to any sort of exclusive deal. Athletes merely provide Postgame with their information in exchange for notifications about potential opportunities. To date, Postgame has successfully paired athletes from just about every team and sport with interested brands — be it for a one-off social post or an extended partnership.
“You could tell right away, most of the market was really fixated on the big one-off deals,” Jula said. “I didn’t think our chances of succeeding on day one was with those marquee guys, so my plan was: Let’s go far and wide with this and give the brands a different kind of opportunity vs. putting all their eggs in that one basket with that one big-name player. Let’s reach more followers with more athletes at less cost.”
Phase 2: NFT Marketplace
It only seemed natural that the next step for Postgame would be to dive into the NFT game, as the blockchain-powered phenomenon gives athletes the chance to do something on their own and invest in themselves.
When Postgame agrees to develop a non-fungible token for a player, he or she is given five for free, either to sell and make money from, or to bet on themselves, predicting that they will go pro one day and their college NFTs will accrue more value over time. Digital collectibles sold in the marketplace are split 50/50 between Postgame and the athlete.
“Our vision is to be a conduit for these college athletes to earn money from their NIL's,” Jula said. “Coming from a technology background and watching the NFT space and what was happening with NBA Top Shot, there’s definitely a void in this space (college athletes). Not many people were doing college athlete NFTs as of a month or so ago.”
From Postgame’s perspective, it needs to be strategic around who gets an NFT. Jula says there are some simple criteria that the company uses. For one, the athlete needs to have a real chance to go pro and/or offer something unique like being the first-ever NFT for their college, sport and more.
Florida pitcher Hunter Barco was one of the early athletes to have an NFT in Postgame’s NFT marketplace. He’s the Gators’ ace and is a potential first-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Postgame’s homepage touts that one of his Limited Edition GOLD NFTs sold for $850.
Opening up NFTs to college athletes also means bringing in a new audience of fans — older alumni, or simply people who have not been engaged with the likes of NBA Top Shot. Postgame isn’t in the business of explaining cryptocurrency to its customers, so it removed that barrier. Fans can shop on Postgame’s marketplace with a credit card or PayPal in addition to their MetaMask wallet. Their marketplace NFT Locker, also stores the NFT(s) for a buyer until they are ready to move them. Soon, Postgame will provide another option for payment: NIL Coin.
Phase 3: NIL Coin
If your staff is tech-savvy enough, it’s only logical that the next step would be to go from dealing in cryptocurrency to actually creating one. So Postgame did, officially debuting NIL Coin in January.
While NIL Coin was made with college athletes in mind, the hope is to have it available on crypto exchanges alongside Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the other big players. When NIL Coin officially went live, Postgame and its athletes were ready to promote it across their Instagram feeds and stories. They will now have the opportunity to get paid to promote Postgame in US dollars, NIL Coin, or a combination of the two.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s going to be limited to college athletics,” Jula said. “But because we have such a good starting point with 6,000-plus athletes on Postgame, it’s a no-brainer to launch the coin through this.”
NIL Coin is still in its infancy, but in just two full days since its launch, it was up over 200%. Two hundred of Postgame’s athletes are currently promoting the currency, and all of them will officially tie as the first student-athletes to be paid for a name, image, and likeness deal at least partially in NIL Coin.
Consider the era of the self-made NIL-lionaire officially minted.