- Sivonnia DeBarros
Licensing Your Name: For the Athlete
Have you ever wondered how you can license your name? It's easier than you think.
We know that as an athlete, your name is your brand. Creating that personal brand can be very lucrative if positioned properly for licensing. For instance, you could license your name for various products and services and we're seeing examples of this at the college level with Name, Image, & Likeness.
However, turning your “personal brand” into a business may seem daunting regardless of the endless possibilities. Therefore, I'll cover three ways to license your name as an athlete so you can make the most out of your brand.
There are three ways to license your name: 1) Apparel, 2) Merchandise (products), and 3) Digital Media.
1. Licensing Your Name with Apparel. Apparel licensing is one of the most popular ways athletes can monetize their name. Many apparel companies are looking for endorsements from top-tier athletes, or even retired athletes who still have a strong fan base.
These companies may pay royalties for the use of your name and likeness on their products. You can also negotiate exclusivity in certain categories, like jerseys or hats, which means the company will only be allowed to produce apparel with your brand on it. Essentially, it gives your brand more control and security.
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2. License your name with merchandising.
This allows you to partner with companies that create memorabilia with your logo or likeness on it. For example, things like mugs, posters, action figures, trading cards, and collectibles. Also, think about NFTs and Metaverse rooms or experiences that have your name, logo or likeness on them. These items often sell well at fan events and conventions and help spread awareness of your brand while you earn through a different revenue stream.
3. License your name through Digital Media.
As you can imagine, this is very popular. It keeps the overhead costs down for the company and increases the earning potential. With digital media licensing agreements, companies pay fees for using images or videos featuring you endorsing their product or service online or in other digital formats like television commercials or video games. Lately, we've seen student-athlete endorsing certain products on their social media channels.
But here's one tip: if the student-athlete has not negotiated a royalty in their contract, the company will continue to make money off that digital endorsement while the student-athlete was only paid one time.
If done right, this type of licensing agreement also gives you control over how often and where these images are used, which helps protect the integrity of your brand image over time.
Licensing your name as an athlete is a great way to monetize your brand and ensure that it will continue making money long after you have retired from sports. Regardless of what licensing option you choose, there are plenty of options available to help get the most out of what has been built up around your name during years of hard work and dedication in sports!
Another tip. Make sure you trademark your name before any license deal to protect your brand long-term from infringement.
With careful consideration and strategic planning, any athlete can turn their personal brand into real cash!
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