With the legal battles around Name, Image, Likeness heating up for the NCAA, we are taking a slightly different to this week's post. The University of North Carolina has caught our attention with a first-of-its-kind group licensing program for its notable alumni, in conjunction with marketing and licensing agency, The Brandr Group.
The details seem to still be a little vague, but they have commitments from former athletes such as Mia Hamm, Heather O'Reilly, Hubert Davis (the new men's basketball head coach) and Sean May. It appears that the idea will be primarily an opportunity for vendors to license three or more of the participating individuals to bring their name, image or likeness to fans in conjunction with the UNC marks. Obviously, it is an opportunity for the former athletes to profit as well.
1) This has been done indirectly for years, sometimes through the multimedia rightsholder and sometimes outside of that platform. Ideally, this will provide some structure to the process, but how will the rightsholder play into this?
2) I think one element to watch will be if this is limited to, say, someone like Nike wanting to create and sell a UNC women's soccer jersey with Mia Hamm's name and number on it or if sponsors will be able to tie into this as well (not just licensed vendors for apparel and merchandise) - see point #1.
3) To us, this is very clearly setting up as a test run for implementing a similar program for current student athletes once there is some clarity on the Name, Image, Likeness legislation. Welcome to a new world!