Apple Inc.’s Beats by Dre has made its largest investment in name, image and likeness (NIL) deals with college athletes to date, signing 15 college players and expanding an effort that began with a few individual deals.
(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc.’s Beats by Dre has made its largest investment in name, image and likeness (NIL) deals with college athletes to date, signing 15 college players and expanding an effort that began with a few individual deals.
The group is headlined by University of Southern California’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Caleb Williams, University of Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers and Alabama cornerback Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry. Terms of the 15 individual athletes’ deals weren’t disclosed. Beats intends to publicly announce the group later Thursday.
“As we’ve worked with our initial college athletes, we’ve realized how important it is for them to have brand support at that level,” Aminah Charles, Beats’ head of sports marketing, said in a statement. “The industry is moving toward truly empowering college athletes, so we wanted to take a bigger swing in this area.”
Student athletes have been able to profit on their name, image and likeness since a 2021 US Supreme Court decision. The ruling lets them sign endorsement deals and profit from their social media posts.
As part of the Beats deal, the college football players will be featured in marketing campaigns and wear custom products throughout their season.
Before the new class was announced, Beats had initially entered the NIL space by signing athletes to one-time deals. Newly drafted Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young was one of their initial selections. The headphone company also inked a deal earlier this year with Bronny James, the son of basketball star LeBron James.
Beats’ Charles says the new class is just the beginning and “this will be an annual list and we look forward to keeping an eye out for the next generation.”
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