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NFL Draft

How Opendorse-Overtime Partnership Can Affect Future NFL Draft Prospects

  • The Draft Network
  • October 22, 2020
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Opendorse and Overtime announced the launch of a partnership built to prepare the endorsement industry for coming changes to Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) policies in college athletics. The companies will provide college athletics programs with custom content creation and distribution technology that has proven to build personal brand value for athletes.

What does this mean for future NFL draft prospects? How can this partnership help college athletes brand themselves and interact with their fanbases before, during, and after the draft process? We sat down with Blake Lawrence, the CEO of Opendorse to find out all of that and more.

The Evolution of Athlete-Driven Media in the NIL Era from Hashtag Sports on Vimeo.

Q: Let's start with something easy, tell us about this partnership.

Lawrence: This partnership is a natural evolution as we move into the NIL era. We’re bringing together two premier brands in athlete-driven media to empower athletes and offer college athletics programs a true differentiator in the recruiting battleground of the next decade. 

The Opendorse-Overtime package pairs our endorsement management platform used by 25,000 of the most marketable athletes worldwide, with the media company that has captured the attention of today’s athletes and fans. With Overtime’s culture-shaping content and Opendorse’s social publishing technology, college programs will provide student-athletes with one-tap publishing access to the most sought-after content in sports, while gaining a massive advantage on the recruiting trail. 

Q: Now, let's dive into the football questions! Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields were the two biggest prospects in the 2018 recruiting class. Now, they’re QB1 & QB2 in this draft class and both have effectively used their platforms and built up their brands and NIL value. How do you envision the impact this partnership could have on the development of future QB prospects? 

Lawrence: I believe schools will adopt the Opendorse-Overtime package in hopes of recruiting the “next QB1.” Overtime has really set the new standard in sports content and social media culture. Athletes love it; they’ve seen it help to thrust prep prospects like Spencer Rattler and Mac McClung into stardom. And now that it’s made possible with this partnership, prospects will want to publish that content on their own channels.  

Programs that provide these tools will help their student-athletes build their fan bases and maximize future endorsement value. These athletes will be in a position to attract sponsors much like media companies do today once rules allow.  

Q: How will it make market penetration and brand recognition easier for the 32 NFL fan bases with these athletes once they declare for the draft? 

Lawrence: We’re living in the athlete-driven era. Fans still have favorite teams, but they’re also rooting for their fantasy roster, watching JuJu’s Twitch stream, and following the athletes that entertain them, regardless of team affiliation. It’s an opportunity to earn recognition before playing a single down in the NFL. 

Today’s athletes understand this and are investing more time and energy into creating content that attracts and engages those fans. It’s leading to more recognition beyond the athlete’s core fan base. They understand that endorsement value starts with attention, and attention comes with entertainment. This partnership will help student-athletes entertain and expand their audience with best-in-class content that, until now, they haven’t had access to. 

Q: Do you believe the partnership will bring more NFL draft prospects into the public spotlight?

Lawrence: It certainly has the opportunity to do so. College football players aren’t reliant on ESPN highlights or national broadcasts for visibility anymore. It helps—but every athlete can reach fans on social media every single day. 

Overtime has repeatedly proven their ability to bring athletes recognition with their content. And now using Opendorse to publish that media to the athlete’s personal social channels? Lookout.  

Follow up: We’re going to see Trey Lance go in Round 1 from a small school in 2021. We saw Kyle Duggar go in Round 2 in 2020. Aside from the big stars, Will this platform help top players at smaller schools build their brands on a more level playing field?

Lawrence: I love the big fish-small pond dynamic. Would you rather be an All-American at UCLA, competing for endorsement dollars with L.A. influencers, celebrities, Lakers and Clippers players, and two NFL rosters, or the All-American at Nebraska, where the total endorsement market is much smaller, but college football is king?

Regardless, any athlete who can pair on-field performance with standout content on social will have the opportunity to make a name for themselves. Those at schools with national recognition and massive fan bases will have an easier time of it, but there’s an opportunity for real stars at the small college level to enter the spotlight earlier in their careers, and realize NIL success once rules allow.  

Q: Could we see marketability become a bigger, more publicly acknowledged area of consideration for NFL draft picks?

LawrenceIt’s common to hear about the pressure of picking the “hometown hero” or the player who will sell tickets… but coaches and GMs are ultimately hired and fired based on their W-L record. Player marketability will assist with exposure to front offices, but draft decisions will remain focused on potential and performance.

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