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NBC initiative gives Notre Dame's NIL efforts a boost

Piece by piece, Notre Dame’s name, image and likeness plan for its student-athletes continues to come together.

The latest is a pilot program launched by NBC Sports and announced Tuesday called “NBC Sports Athlete Direct.”

To expect a big-picture view at this point isn’t realistic, because NIL initiatives are evolving so rapidly, as is the NIL marketplace itself.

The latest piece, though, provided by NBC Sports, helps provide a sense of direction, as does the FUND (Friends of the University of Notre Dame) third-party collective, spearheaded by former ND quarterback Brady Quinn and backed by Notre Dame business school namesake Tom Mendoza.



The NBC initiative is short on details, but what we do know is that it will be available to student-athletes at Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Temple. Per NBC’s press release, student-athletes at each university who opt in to NBC Sports Athlete Direct will be presented with name, image, and likeness (NIL) opportunities from advertisers that include monetizing their social media followings.

The release goes on to say that NBC Sports will also collaborate with the universities to create content for student-athletes focused on NIL best practices. In addition, NBC Sports will collaborate with CNBC, the world leader in business and financial news, to provide personal finance resources.

“We’re excited to launch NBC Sports Athlete Direct, which will add significant value to the NIL ecosystem by connecting student-athletes and advertisers through a trusted marketplace that will have real scale,” said Damon Phillips, SVP, Strategic Initiatives, NBC Sports. “We look forward to growing NBC Sports Athlete Direct by working with additional institutions moving forward.”

Notre Dame and NBC Sports have been exclusive partners for Notre Dame football home games since 1991, when ND broke away from the College Football Association in what was then a bold and controversial move.

The partnership has evolved beyond TV rights, and NBC Sports Athlete Direct is a tangible example.

“Our student-athletes are at the heart of every decision we make at Notre Dame and the chance to partner with NBC Sports to provide them another opportunity in the NIL space is exciting,” said Notre Dame associate athletics director Claire VeNard, the leader of the University’s GLD Center which is committed to empowering student-athletes to maximize their impact.

“Being first movers in any category is a powerful statement to our student-athletes and the chance to work with one of the leaders in the media space is one we couldn’t pass up.”


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