Name/image/likeness: Chuba Hubbard & Spencer Rattler coming to a car commercial near you
The NCAA’s name/image/likeness debate reached new ground Wednesday when its board of governors approved recommendations that include allowing product endorsements and social media content.
Ohio State president Michael Drake called it “unchartered territory.” Funny, that’s the exact term a friend of mine from the advertising industry used when I explained the situation.
Basically, athletes are going to be allowed to make endorsements and retain their eligibility. The only apparent requirements are that athletes disclose the financial transactions be disclosed to their university and that the fees for those activities should be within an established range of market values.
But even those parameters are unclear. What does established market value mean? Does that mean the going rate for a TV pitch man, who has made a career out of hawking Camaros and Camrys? Or a celebrity who isn’t all that smooth on camera but whose name and face are widely known?
If Chuba Hubbard or Spencer Rattler does an endorsement deal, are they compared to Linda Soundtrak or Chad Stevens (of Fowler Toyota fame; “buy from me! I’m a man! I’m 40!”)?
Or are they compared to Nick Collison and Andre Roberson with those Edmond Hyundai commercials?
Or are they compared to novice unknowns with a soothing voice or a pretty smile?
I don’t know, but clearly there would be a market for Sooners and Cowboys. My advertising friend says celebrity endorsements work.
He said all kinds of factors would affect the pay, but he offered a few estimates for, say, a car-dealer campaign.
Maybe $1,000-$2,500 for a one-time commercial. Maybe $5,000 a month for an extended campaign. Perhaps even a year-long deal in the $50,000-$75,000 range.
However, supply-and-demand could factor in. Athletes wanted in on the market economy, welcome to the market economy. Counting prominent football players, basketball players, softball players, gymnasts, wrestlers and even other assorted athletes, the Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets will be flooded with as many as 200 eager endorsers.
Why spend $5,000 a month on Hubbard when you can get Spencer Sanders for $3,000? Why spend $10,000 for an extended Rattler campaign when you can get the entire OU softball team for $6,000?
When asked about this coming name/image/likeness reform, I’ve returned a question. How many car dealers in Alabama would be interested in paying Alabama or Auburn football players to endorse their business? How many car dealers in Oklahoma would be interested in paying Sooners or Cowboys to endorse their business?
The answer is, all of them.
But the coronavirus-induced recession has stymied cash flow across America. When the NCAA approves the name/image/likeness reform in the coming months, it’s likely not to be the wild, wild West commercially. People are more likely to be careful with their money. That’s a silver lining in the recession.
The new rules figure to be an administrative nightmare for schools and the NCAA, as they try to determine the going rate for Cade Cunningham or Kennedy Brooks to sell Fords and Chevrolets. Every little bit helps.