The name, image and likeness era begins in college athletics on Thursday, July 1. While there will be plenty of unknowns and learning curves as NIL goes into place, one thing is now for certain: all college athletes in the state of Nebraska will have at least one business offer waiting for them on Thursday.
Runza, alongside Opendorse, announced Wednesday the launch of a first-of-its-kind college athlete endorsement program, offering deals to 100 current student-athletes. The deal is good for the first 100 athletes who opt in through the Opendorse platform and promote the Runza rewards apps to their social media followings.
“This a new and exciting era of college sports,” Becky Perrett, Runza’s Director of Marketing, said in a statement. “Runza has a long history of partnering with area colleges and universities for athletics sponsorships, and now, changes to the name, image and likeness policy allow our brand to directly support student-athletes. With Opendorse, we’re able to connect with these athletes and operate the campaign from pitch to payment in one compliant platform, making it scalable for us, and simple for the student-athlete.”
The program will be available to any student-athlete of any sport attending any college or university in the state of Nebraska. It will also provide “immediate, equal access to compliant payment opportunities for those who opt-in to Opendorse Deals.”
The deal is set to begin Thursday, July 1, the first day of NIL. Pending performance of the campaign, Runza plans to use the Opendorse platform in the future for additional product promotions and fan engagement opportunities in partnership with Nebraska student-athletes.
“Runza is a part of Nebraska sports culture,” Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence said. “The brand has been a staple of the college sports experience across the state for years. This campaign builds on that history – Runza becomes the first regional brand to commit to supporting student-athletes in Nebraska at scale. I’m proud that we can provide the marketplace that makes this long-time goal a reality.”
Expect more deals to come to light quickly as the NIL era begins. Nebraska feels ready to take on NIL, thanks in large part to its partnership with Opendorse. The Huskers partnered with Opendorse and have recently launched the #NILbraska program, “a three-pronged approach to providing education for student-athletes to maximize their potential in the NIL category: Ready Now, Accelerate and the Husker Advantage.”
The Ready Now program launched at Nebraska in March of 2020 with Opendorse helping educate Nebraska student-athletes on growing their following and increasing engagement in an NIL world.
For more on what you need to know about name, image and likeness, check out our guide here.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.