On March 4, 2022 Kansas and Mizzou met for the annual Border Showdown hockey game. The media coverage of the game attracted tens of thousands of eyes, including one of the players on the Men's Basketball team. Jalen Coleman-Lands, a 7th-year senior, commented on a Instagram post asking where he can get a jersey, which led to our Club's Executive Board and KU Athletics organizing the first-ever NIL deal between a varsity program and a sport club at the University of Kansas. This deal allowed us to meet with the Athletic Director, Director of Compliance, and Licensing Director to set guidelines at the University of Kansas on how sport clubs should go about using varsity programs to promote their organization.
Date: March 5, 2022
Client: KU Athletics, Men's Basketball
Medium: NIL, Marketing, Sales
The first conversation happened March 5, four days before the Big 12 Tournament started, but we had to sit on our hands for over a month until their playoff run concluded. Initially, we only gave Coleman-Lands a jersey and told him to let us know if any other guys want one because we'll order them at the discounted team price. Days later, we worked out a sponsorship deal to cover the cost of 20 custom hockey jerseys, which is about $1700. With that financial help, we reached out to Coleman-Lands and told him we could get the whole team custom jerseys free of charge.
With the new NIL laws in place, we wanted to meet with KU Athletics personnel to make sure this deal was done correctly and didn't have negative implications on either program. We had worked out a deal to order 20 custom hockey jerseys with the players’ names and numbers in exchange for all of them to promote our club and uniforms throughout the course of a two-week custom jersey sale. Ideally, each player would've been able to take photos in the jerseys and promote them in their own way, but since this was the first deal of its kind, we played it safe and our club took care of all social media posting, and asked each player to share the posts with the link to the store.
When the store concluded, we sold 90 jerseys and made over $4,000 in revenue, both of which are about average for a two-week sales period for our club. Where we saw the most growth was through the 2,678% (1,684 to 22,800) increase in accounts engaged and over 100,000 impressions on Instagram alone over that two-week period. For reference, over the course of the entire 2021-2022 season (Sep-Mar, 8 months), we had just over 125,000 impressions on Instagram.
Since there are only 18 rostered players, we had two extra jerseys that we could order as apart of the sponsorship deal, so we ordered the Athletic Director and the Director of Compliance custom jerseys and gave the jerseys to them as a surprise gift and thank you. When I met with the Athletic Director, Travis Goff, he was beaming with excitement. When he was holding up the jersey, looking at the front, the custom name and number was facing his Executive Assistant, and she asked what the "02" was for, and then Goff flipped it around and wondered the same thing. Before we ordered these jerseys, my staff and I had found that Goff graduated from the University of Kansas in 2002, so I looked at Goff and said, "That's the year you graduated, isn't it?" and his response was, "Man, you don't miss a beat do you?", to which we all laughed.