In the Business of NIL Episode 11 our guest and former NCAA student athlete and co-founder of Player Collxctive, Chelsea Suitos talks to us about the growth of women’s sports. Chelsea played softball at the University of Arizona before she worked at Nike so she has a lot of knowledge in and around the sports world.
For many years now women’s sports were neglected and not getting the recognition they fought so hard to get and deserved. However, it seems now that women’s sports are growing in both popularity as well as recognition among the world. Even with all of the women’s growth that is happening, there still is a lot of work to be done due to issues such as:
- Pay gap between the best women’s athlete and worst men’s athlete in a given sport
- Limited/No off season for women athletes due to them still having to play overseas or have another job on their “off-season” – Can result in injuries due to less recovery
Now many may ask the question “why are they not getting the money offered that they deserve”? There are a few different factors to that, some of them being:
- People aren’t willing to invest and fund it
- The networks aren’t making the big deals
- Player consistency needs to build a more solid foundation for women’s professional sports
In men’s professional sports they tend to see huge money out as investments but they also tend to see even bigger money coming in which is making them profitable and successful as organizations and leagues. In women’s sports however they need to run it more like a business and have a plan in mind of what it is they want to accomplish to keep seeing the growth they are and beyond. Women’s sports needs to see proper ownership to grow including business plans for investors to see big growth in the sports.
While women’s sports is on the rise, the NIL deal opportunities are new to them being student athletes and with new times comes new learning experiences for these women. So some advice that Suitos gives these women athletes regarding monetizing their name image and likeness is:
- Be authentic/Build time building up your brand
- It is fine to say no to offers/deals (do not feel the need to say yes to every deal you are offered if it you feel it may not be the right deal to be made)
- Know your value/Play the long game
While many college athletes who sign big NIL deals may be thinking of playing in the pro’s and getting paid even more from those contracts do exist, there are also many college athletes who are trying to build up their brand who will not play beyond the college level. However, building your brand and NIL up during the 4 years in college can give you many opportunities going forward even without making it to the pro level if you have built up and established a good brand and business behind your name, image and likeness.
It is on the athletes to do the work to build their brand and the new day and age with social media and phones, computers and all that makes it much easier and more realistic for these athletes to do so. With youtube, tiktok, instagram and the social media platforms especially, these are giving more and more college athletes a chance to do something and build a brand behind their NIL.
To sum it up, college athletes are getting a unique new experience which is giving them new opportunities they just need to want it and work for it. The most important tips to these athletes to do and look out for regarding NIL deals are:
- Do the work needed/Build up your brand and establish a business plan
- Do not commit until you have someone who knows how to read a contract
- Be authentic to yourself when building your brand and strategy