Now that the NCAA allows college athletes to enter paid endorsement deals, I can’t wait to see which marquee names sign on with beverage brands.
So far, the list is short. Milo’s, a refrigerated ready-to-drink tea brand based in Alabama, grabbed deals immediately with Auburn University quarterback Bo Nix and University of Alabama defensive back Malachi Moore (smart move not picking sides in that bitter football rivalry). If there are other beverage deals, I couldn’t find them.
You can bet more are on the way. BioSteel Sports Nutrition Co-Founder John Celenza pointed out to me that brands weren’t allowed to talk to NCAA athletes prior to the new rule on July 1. “It’s a frantic rush now for all the agents in this new world,” he said. “It’s kind of exciting to see them react.” Celenza said BioSteel is taking meetings and could have news in 30 to 60 days.
Another beverage executive with a major brand expects to see plenty of local market deals as well as larger national partnerships, especially within the functional beverage market. For large brands, it takes time to weigh the pros and cons and build the right strategy, the person said.
In other words, it’s still about blocking and tackling.
-- Duane Stanford, Editor & Publisher
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