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Learfield Allied Offers Access to Intellectual Property for NIL

Learfield Allied will allow student athletes to use university intellectual property

Wisconsin student athletes with Wisconsin logo
David Stluka/Icon Sportswire

Now that nearly four months have passed since the onset of NIL, brands across the country have had time to study the early trends and begin to make strategic decisions in the marketplace, albeit in a relatively small sample size. Therefore, we’re starting to see more and more announcements of high profile companies jumping into the NIL space in unique ways.

Even though student-athletes are now able to monetize their name, image, and likeness like never before, some schools have decided not to allow the use of university intellectual property for these purposes. These schools’ policies might tell student-athletes not to wear their team jerseys or school logos in NIL activities. However, Learfield recently announced the launch of Learfield Allied, the first nationwide NIL offering that delivers brands the opportunity to pair student-athletes with university partner marks and logos.

Learfield is a media and technology services leader in intercollegiate athletics. The company allows brands and fans to access the power of university brands through the representation of more than 200 of the nation’s top collegiate properties including the NCAA and its 89 championships.

The campaign builds upon the company’s mission, which has bridged both local and national corporate brands to universities and college sports fans for nearly fifty years. Now for the first time, those brand partners can leverage the combination of student-athlete engagement and NIL with school IP for even greater appeal to fans and consumers.

Many of the company’s multimedia rights partners will engage in Learfield Allied at launch, including Duke University, Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Kansas, University of Louisville, St. John’s University, Syracuse University, University of Utah and University of Wisconsin.

For example, Duke’s Paolo Banchero or Florida State’s Jordan Travis can now utilize their school’s respective uniforms and logos to capture the attention of fans across the country. This will obviously help student-athletes whose faces might not get the level of recognition without having their school’s branding attached. Likewise, companies will likely receive more ROI on their advertising endeavors with student-athletes adorning recognizable university logos and gear.

“From the very first stages of NIL, our job has been simple – to listen, learn, and help schools, brand partners, and student-athletes maximize opportunities,” said Cole Gahagan, President and CEO, Learfield. “By building a nationwide, consistent framework, we’re ensuring that the invaluable IP of our school partners remains under the highest level of commercial safeguard, while at the same time, significantly widening the opportunities for student-athletes, universities, and corporate brands alike. LEARFIELD Allied is truly a solution that benefits all stakeholders in NIL.”

To be clear, Learfield does not represent student-athletes. Learfield Allied simply provides opportunities for student-athletes to engage with trusted brand partners invested in college sports marketing with the support of university partners who choose to participate. Learfield Allied leverages the company’s nationwide footprint to enable the largest commercial framework to assist university partners and their student-athletes in growing exposure and revenues, where it is permitted by law and school policy.

“Learfield Allied is a win for all parties involved and I am especially happy that this will expand NIL opportunities for our student-athletes,” said Wisconsin AD Chris McIntosh. “Our athletic department is deeply committed to helping our student-athletes and corporate partners maximize opportunities in this space. This new initiative will greatly help and I am pleased to have Wisconsin Athletics at the forefront.”

“As a leader in intercollegiate athletics, we have a responsibility to listen to the market and lead with solutions. Our brand partners are interested in utilizing student-athletes in their marketing campaigns, but there hasn’t been a secure and turnkey way to facilitate those opportunities using school IP, until now,” said John Brody, Chief Revenue Officer, Learfield . “The unveiling of Learfield Allied is a gamechanger for those brands who are leaning in on student-athlete NIL, and we are proud to be at the center of the industry’s evolution and development.”

As NIL continues to develop and evolve, we’re seeing more and more groundbreaking initiatives to benefit student-athletes, schools, and companies across the country. By implementing Learfield Allied, Learfield continues to provide leadership in the NIL era.

After already launching Compass, a comprehensive student-athlete education, disclosure, compliance, and monitoring platform for NIL along with partnering with OneTeam Partners to provide opt-in licensing opportunities for student-athlete inclusion in merchandise programs, it’s clear Learfield is a leader in the changing landscape of college athletics. It will be fascinating to see the fruits of Learfield Allied in the coming months and beyond.

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