TN50 - driving the next 50 years of growth in women's sports. Presented by Axios and Deep Blue
Apr 23, 2024 - Business

More NIL education is needed, Klutch Sports' Fara Leff says


(L-R): Fara Leff, Constance Schwartz-Morini, Sara Fischer. Photo credit: Axios and Deep Blue Sports & Entertainment Business of Women's Sports Summit 2024.

The NIL era is becoming overwhelming for athletes before they even begin their collegiate careers, Fara Leff, COO of sports agency powerhouse Klutch Sports Group, said at the TN50: Business of Women's Sports Summit.

Why it matters: Earning power for college athletes is higher than ever, but so is the pressure for those athletes to cut branding deals.

Zoom in: "These kids are just getting so overwhelmed with these opportunities and they think they need to take everything," Leff said at the event produced by Axios and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment.

  • The inception of the NIL era means that Leff is spending more time than ever sitting down with high school students and educating them on the pratfalls they could face.
  • "It's just so hard to sit in a family's house with a high schooler and try to predict that they're going to be in the NBA after one year in college, NFL after three, WNBA four years, and predict that they're going to hold their name and likeness to this level that everyone is around them is telling them," she said.
  • Leff argued that her main role with her NIL clients is helping them to protect their name and likeness, including from oversaturating their media presence.
  • Leff was joined on the panel by Constance Schwartz-Morini, co-founder & CEO, SMAC. Axios reporter Sara Fischer moderated.
  • Among Schwartz-Morini's clients are Deion Sanders, aka Coach Prime, and his family. Lebron James and his family are on Leff's client list.

Between the lines: Schwartz-Morini said her biggest concern was with NIL collectives.

  • Collectives seek donations from university boosters, alumni and fans. Collectives then arrange deals with athletes where they pay players in NIL-related contracts for public appearances and brand endorsements.
  • "I'm 1000% for NIL," Schwartz-Morini said. "It's the collectives that are the biggest struggle."

Go deeper:

WNBA legend Sue Bird says NIL made athletes double as brand champions

TN50: The Business of Women's Sports Summit is an event focused on the growing marketing and investment dollars in women's sports. The event, produced by Axios and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment, features top female athletes, sports leaders and investors in the women's sports industry.

Go deeper