Kwik Trip’s Recent NIL Sponsorship Shows How NIL Is For More Than Just Student Athletes

 

 

Kwik Trip’s recent NIL sponsorship is opening new territory for college students. College athletics have long been a major factor for universities to attract attention, alumni donations, and brand loyalty. However, that’s shifting now since the advent of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) regulations in 2021, granting college athletes the long-overdue right to make money off their names too. This transformation is not just a victory for athletes; it’s a fascinating case study in modern branding opportunities for all students. 

While athletes are still navigating these relatively uncharted waters, the non-athletic students always had the freedom to explore entrepreneurial avenues. This aspect has helped campuses become grounds for mutual learning between athletes and their peers. Co-branded opportunities—where student athletes and their universities both benefit—serve as a compelling bridge. Yet, these new frontiers in personal branding aren’t just about short-term gains. They are exploratory platforms where students can fine-tune marketing strategies, create partnerships, and understand target demographics. As students leverage their newfound NIL sponsorship opportunities, colleges are presented with the potential to redefine their brands in a landscape where everyone stands to gain.

Brittney Whiteside, the VP of College Partnerships at Altius Sports Partners, says that an NIL sponsorship will create a lot of different opportunities for students, and even build better relationships between them and their institutions. She also added that the concept of co-branding can facilitate this relationship through a number of several factors.

Whiteside has extensive experience in the field of college athletics and partnerships, working previously as Deputy Athletics Director at the University of Virginia, Senior Associate Athletics Director at Appalachian State University, and Director of External Engagement at the University of Missouri.

 

Whiteside’s Thoughts

Opportunities for General Students and Athletes in College Athletics

“What athletics does, and college athletics in general, is almost that front-facing part of a university, of a brand. And so I do think it’s going to lend itself to more opportunities for general students to think about what brands am I passionate about, how can I leverage my personal platforms to really tell a story about my passion for that brand, and maybe get creative with partnerships.”

On the Timeline for Athletes to Monetize their Name, Image, and Likeness

“It’s really interesting when you think about NIL. Like, athletes only have the opportunity to really start to monetize on their name, image, and likeness starting in 2021. And nonathletes and general student body have always had that opportunity.”

Learning Opportunities for Athletes

“I think athletes have opportunities to learn a lot from their classmates that have explored brand partnerships, and have been able to build a personal brand, and been able to leverage some of the opportunities prior to 2021.”

Brands Becoming Comfortable with College Students

“I believe brands will continue to be more comfortable working with college students. So I think that there will be a comfortability really engaging in this space, and really starting to understand some of the target markets, and just some of the opportunities that exist with college students.”

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