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Content platform Curastory wants to help college athletes' NIL deals

Tim Baysinger
Mar 25, 2022
Illustration of a college basketball player with a dollar sign on his jersey.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Curastory, a content creation platform, is looking to educate college athletes on how to not only become better creators, but monetize their own work.

Why it matters: The advent of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) deals, which has given college athletes a modicum of earnings power, is still very much in its early days. Many athletes remain uncertain and apprehensive about how to monetize their image and likeness, Curastory CEO Tiffany Kelly tells Tim.

  • "Student-athletes are still super hesitant," Kelly said. "They still cared about their coaches' buy-in, their staff, and being scared to not lose their eligibility."

Driving the news: Curastory is embarking on its first-ever NCAA roadshow, where it will visit more than 30 schools between April and August, including top universities like Ohio State and Louisville.

  • Kelly said the main purpose of the visits is to educate student-athletes on how to become their own content creators, which will hopefully help them sell themselves to brands.
  • Curastory expects between 15,000 and 30,000 athletes and other students to attend. It's open to anyone, though aimed at athletes.

Be smart: The NCAA has essentially left it up to states and universities to set their own policies regarding NILs. That means the schools are just as lost as some of the students.

  • "Schools are kind of flailing right now. They literally can't do anything. They can only steer their athletes in the right direction, without being in the middle," she said.

The big picture: The NIL business has already been a boon for athletes at the top of the market.

  • Alabama quarterback Bryce Young inked nearly $1 million in NIL deals before he even threw a pass. (Earlier this month, he signed a deal with BMW of Tuscaloosa).
  • LSU gymnast Olivia Dunn had deal offers in the seven figures.
  • Ohio State leads the pack: A board of trustees report found that 225 Ohio State athletes had inked 619 deals adding up to $2.99 million as of Jan. 23.
  • On Wednesday, Adidas launched its own NIL network that will allow more than 50,000 students at Adidas-sponsored schools to become brand spokespeople.

Be smart: Kelly thinks the ones who become truly successful will be those who go beyond being a simple brand spokesperson.

  • "That's going to be so short-lived if you don't think like a YouTuber or like a media company," she said.

The bottom line: The creator economy is about to get an infusion from college sports.

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