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The Collegiate Athlete Creator Economy

DATE POSTED:September 15, 2021
Recently, UCLA basketball player Jaylen Clark became the first NCAA athlete to launch his own social token, $JROCK. The collegiate athlete also boasts a strong social media following with over 22,000 subscribers on Youtube. The UCLA guard issued his social token on Rally, a social token issuance platform that supports the creation of “creator coins”. The intended purpose of creator coins is to help facilitate an economy around a creator or influencer by providing them additional monetization strategies. Currently, fan or coin holder usage on Rally is limited to holding, tipping, and transacting. However, fans may be eligible for exclusive access and premium benefits that a creator offers such as gated membership to discord channels, NFTs, or other features. Finally, the Rally Network is underpinned by the Rally token which acts as the source of collateral for all creator coins issued on the platform. The Baller and Youtuber plans to offer tickets for $JROCK token holders as well as unique content for his subscribers. $JROCK is the start of what will be a wave of athletes using social tokens and NFTs to monetize their brands. NCAA: Not Controlling Athletes Anymore Clark is able to issue a social token because all collegiate athletes now possess rights over the monetization of their name, image, and likeness. The Supreme court finally overruled the NCAA’s longstanding monopoly over student-athletes which has historically kneecapped individuals from making money based on their valuable brands. And if you’re not thinking, “damn, how will these young athletes survive without the protection of the NCAA” then you’re probably not on social media. The deals started flowing in almost immediately after the July 1st date where athletes gained access to their NIL (name-image-likeness). Hercy Miller signed a $2 million sponsorship deal Miami striker Gilbert Frierson signed a deal with Lamelo Meat Market Dan Lambert, a longtime Miami football fan, has offered each scholarship player (90 total) on the Miami football team a monthly payment of $500 to advertise his gyms on social media Potential No 1. Pick in the NFL draft, Kayvon Thibodeaux partnered with Nike founder Phil Knight to issue an NFT collection Arkansas WR Trey Knox and his dog partnered with PetSmart The student in collegiate athlete was always silent, but at least now the silence in exchange for (potentially) life-altering sponsorship deals rather than school pride. A New Era For Student-Athletes And this is only the beginning. FSU QB McKenzie Milton and Miami QB D'Eriq King founded Dreamfield a name-image-likeness platform focused on booking live events for student-athletes, including autograph sessions, meet-and-greets, and speaking engagements. Think of it as a collegiate athlete version of Cameo where fans can get access to top collegiate athletes who are now monetizing their time for thousands of dollars an hour. Whether this new regulation makes collegiate sports better or not (it will) is the incorrect question. The important question is how many athletes will be able to benefit from their unique and otherwise non-monetized success? Notably, most collegiate athletes will not be able to make significant revenue by selling their name or image (e.g. sponsorships). However, athletes with strong social media followings are set to capitalize on this new rule change. Young, culture-savvy athletes are well poised to leverage crypto primitives like NFTs and social tokens to monetize their brands and usher in a new era, the athlete creator economy.