How Notre Dame Soccer Players and Parents Navigate NIL Opportunities

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One of Notre Dame Safety Kyle Hamilton's first NIL deals came with Rhoback, a sportswear company.

In just over a month, the name, image and likeness market for Notre Dame Kyle Hamilton security has been very busy.

The All-American and likely first-round NFL draft pick has released its own line of merchandise including shirts, hoodies and hats with its KH14 logo. He has made himself available to play video games with fans on YOKE and to record video messages for fans via Cameo.

Hamilton, a junior, was the first college athlete to sign a sponsorship deal with Rhoback, a sportswear brand specializing in golf apparel. Hamilton and his three roommates and teammates – Cornerback Cam Hart, Safety KJ Wallace and wide receiver Conor Ratigan – launched a podcast called “Inside The Garage” as part of The Volume, a network founded by Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports and Co. became. produced by iHeartMedia.

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Hamilton even hosted soccer training for 10 youth athletes on July 27th.

Hamilton worked through all of these deals without signing with a marketing agency. Instead, Hamilton’s family handled all the inquiries that came his way. First, they set up an email address, khaminquiries@gmail.com, and let Hamilton add it to his Twitter and Instagram bios. His mother, Jackie, and older brother, Tyler, are constantly monitoring their inbox.

“We had no expectations,” said Jackie. “It’s the first time for everyone at the rodeo, isn’t it? I swear the inbox was flooded with inquiries from various companies and products. ”

Fortunately, the Hamilton’s have marketing connections. Jackie works as a human resources manager for shared vision marketing in Atlanta. Tyler works in business development for Athletes First Partners, a sports marketing agency affiliated with Athletes First, a full-service agency representing NFL players, coaches and executives. Tyler, who played basketball in college, received a Masters of Business Administration from William & Mary after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania.

“Being the player he is gave us a lot of opportunities,” said Tyler. “He’s one of those laid back guys. It will not attempt to appear in every advertisement or anything like that. We try to pick a few things that we believe will honestly connect with him and that he would like to support. So we can keep it simple. ”

Tyler came up with the concept for Kyle’s KH14 logo last year when he was bored during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is something we’ve been talking about for a few years, Kyle and I,” Tyler said. “To be able to work on something like that together and keep it in the family. My father likes to say that he would like to adopt the model from LeBron (James). This is Kyle’s wheelhouse because he’s the biggest LeBron fan I know.

“We hold everything together with people who are close to us and whom we trust. Then get help from other people when we can hold the core group together to help everyone raise Kyle as much as possible. ”

Her father Derrek has known the business from his career as a professional basketball player abroad for more than a decade and as a coach of professional athletes. He was confident that they were prepared for what was to come this way.

But he agreed with Kyle that the NIL deals couldn’t detract from his development as a footballer. The family can help so that he is not overloaded at the beginning of the season. Kyle’s primary focus cannot be on the NIL.

“We have a text message called Team Ham in which we discuss everything as a family,” said Derrek. “Football is the reason he’s here and football is the reason he gets this. Since I’m a coach, he never has to worry about that.”

The Hamiltons plan to continue without an agency, Jackie said, unless someone makes an offer they can’t refuse.

Find an agency that can help you

Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams signed with Rosenhaus Sports after speaking with several different agencies. He chose the agency founded by the famous agent Drew Rosenhaus also because the agency could help Williams manage his time.

“We were just looking for someone who was on the same side as us,” said Williams’ mother Taryn. “Someone who wanted to go out, look for opportunities, get them all up and running, and help as much as possible to do this creepy job for Kyren.”

At the end of last season, when Williams was a sophomore star on Notre Dames Offensive, Taryn began researching what it would take to prepare for future NIL opportunities. She consulted with other parents of Notre Dame gamblers, agencies, and friends with business and legal backgrounds to learn how to manage it all.

Taryn, who works as an IT manager, spent virtually all of her free time searching through all of the details, including forming an LLC in Kyren’s name, for three weeks. She carefully made sure that they did everything right so that she wouldn’t have to spend more time doing it in the future.

Taryn estimates she now spends 10-15 hours a week helping her son on NIL opportunities.

“The marketing agent and I are working closely to see if there are any deals he’s interested in or not,” said Taryn. “(Kyren) provided a list of items he was also interested in. Then we just go from there. ”

Kyren hasn’t publicly announced any deals yet, but it’s only a matter of time before that changes. One of these deals will include merchandise with their own logo. He is interested in finding partnerships with companies that can improve his lifestyle and make his work as an athlete easier, such as a food delivery service or a drink product.

Like Hamilton, Williams set up an email for field inquiries and listed them on his Twitter and Instagram bios: KyrenWilliamsNIL@gmail.com.

Despite the prospect of new income, Taryn said Kyren remained frugal. Finding a good financial advisor remains one of their priorities. Recently, after a tough workout, Kyren called Taryn and asked if he should buy a nice pair of shoes.

“I say, ‘Kyren, you work harder than anyone I know. If you want these shoes, buy the shoes, ”said Taryn. “It’s just little things like these that he can do for himself now that he couldn’t before. Maybe some of the other kids made it, so he feels kind of included. ”

Kyren even went out of his way to buy his younger sister a pair of Tory Burch sandals that he knew they wanted but couldn’t afford.

“He was so excited to go out and get them for her and surprise her,” said Taryn. “It’s one of those branded items that we would never have bought her, but he was able to bless her with it. These are the things that get Kyren excited. Kyren would like to be able to help take care of things. ”

Highlight personal brands with NIL

Jayson and Justin Ademilola are still awaiting their breakout season as Notre Dame defensive linemen. The senior twins were rotation players for the Irish and showed potential that has yet to be achieved.

But that didn’t stop them from taking advantage of the NIL market. Two days after announcing they’d signed with Vayner Sports last month, the Ademilola twins were promoting Six Star Pro Nutrition on their Instagram accounts.

The twins signed with Vayner Sports to help with marketing, in part because they were previously connected to co-founders Gary and AJ Vaynerchuk. The Vaynerchuks have ties to New Jersey, where the Ademilolas grew up.

Her father Ade hopes any NIL deals his sons close will help illuminate their potential.

“Once the NIL was approved, we wanted to use it as a platform to improve their brand,” said Ade. “So when they start playing more games on the field, people will know about it.”

This means that the NIL goals for the Ademilolas go beyond making money.

“Our goal is to work with well-known brands and platforms, add value to the community and tell a positive story,” said Ade. “That fits what we are as a family and what we do as a family.”

Ade, who builds voice and data networks to improve connectivity for businesses, has put his family in a position where financial gain doesn’t have to come first.

“There is a saying in my household that we do the work and the wages come,” said Ade. “It’s not the money. The twins don’t need NIL money to do anything because God has blessed our families. But the goal is to work with brands that improve their image as soon as they start producing in the field. “

Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.

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