New online NIL marketplace connects fans to college athletes

Fans who want to financially support college athletes through name, image and likeness deals can now do so with just a few clicks online.

Opendorse, a company that partners with dozens of schools to help initiate, track and monitor NIL deals, on Monday launched an online marketplace where fans can go directly to athletes to purchase their autographs, personal appearances and social media posts.

At Opendorse.com, school-specific pages will be available for universities that partner...

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Fans who want to financially support college athletes through name, image and likeness deals can now do so with just a few clicks online.

Opendorse, a company that partners with dozens of schools to help initiate, track and monitor NIL deals, on Monday launched an online marketplace where fans can go directly to athletes to purchase their autographs, personal appearances and social media posts.

At Opendorse.com, school-specific pages will be available for universities that partner with the company. Through those pages, users can access athletes’ profiles with rates for various services.

“Collectives have dominated conversations about NIL, but where are the fans in that conversation?” Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence said. “Most of them don’t know where to go and what it costs.”

Lawrence equated Opendorse’s new service to what Fanatics has done with online team merchandise.

Lawrence said the company’s data revealed that through the first year of college athletes being permitted to earn money from endorsements and sponsorships, only 4% of athletes have struck deals with fans.

While there is a growing desire among fans to purchase the services of college athletes, they “can’t just go give this kid money and call it NIL.”

“It’s really to help sports fans: This is where you go, this is what you do and this is what it costs,” Lawrence said.

Using data it has collected from more than 100,000 NIL deals disclosed by athletes to schools, Opendorse has created an Athlete Rate Card to set prices for things like autographs and appearances.

For most athletes, those transactions are valued at well under $100, though some can range into the thousands, Lawrence said.

Payments are made by credit card.

“We have already secured the payment and when (the athletes) perform the services as defined, they will receive payment,” Lawrence said.

Opendorse already works with schools to monitor deals for compliance of state laws, school policies and NCAA rules.

With “a NIL deal done through Opendorse, security is the priority for us,” Lawrence said. “Off-platform transactions are the most risky of all.”

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