Yesterday, UNC announced that they were teaming up with the Brandr Group to start the first-ever group licensing for current student-athletes. This is huge news, but it comes with some caveats.
We're excited to launch the first-ever group licensing program for current NCAA student-athletes, which will allow Tar Heels to benefit from their Name, Image, and Likeness in conjunction with UNC’s official trademarks & logos— UNC Tar Heels (@GoHeels) July 20, 2021
» https://t.co/1ARNOQrHGX#GoHeels pic.twitter.com/Jy7ZgcoOxK
How does it help?
Do you love certain UNC players? Absolutely! Have you been lining up to buy a Trey Morrison t-shirt? Or maybe a Jimmy’s Famous Seafood jersey with Armando Bacot’s name and number on the back, but no hint of a Carolina logo? Maybe not. But would you buy a UNC jersey of your favorite player with his/her name and number on the back? Uh...
Having the ability to sell merchandise with your name, image, and likeness is fantastic. Being able to tie that merchandise with Carolina’s world-recognized logo and color (how many schools have a color named after them?) is a better way of selling to fans that may be more closely aligned to the school than the individual. Michael Jordan may be the only athlete that can sell gear with him as the logo rather than a team.
What are the limitations?
Caleb Love cannot go and start printing shirts with him and the UNC logo tomorrow. The way that this licensing agreement works is that groups of student athletes (three or more from the same team or six or more across multiple sports) will be able to market products using Carolina’s intellectual property. In other words, you need to assemble your crew.
This means you could see Kerwin Walton, Brady Manek, and Dawson Garcia selling posters that says, “It’s raining 3’s” with their uniforms on and a UNC logo prominently featured. And if all goes well next year, you could see an Avengers style group shot with Sam Howell, Jamie Ortega, Nicky Solomon, Erin Matson, Caleb Love, Deja Kelly, Alec Smir, and Rachel Jones in a “University of National Champions” t-shirt, complete with Rameses and official uniforms on the athletes.
CBS Sports analyst Matt Norlander brought up another point that could potentially help Carolina hold on to athletes that aren’t guaranteed first-round picks. If they stick around campus for an extra year or two and become legends, along the lines of Danny Green, they could essentially have a pension payment for the rest of their lives with royalties from UNC-branded merchandise.
This seems huge because UNC, the school of MJ and arguably the cleanest unis in CBB, has a huge marketing and commercial opportunity by putting players’ names on the backs of jerseys and selling them in perpetuity. If you’re a UNC legend, you’ll make money off that until you die. https://t.co/aLrdAi5PgH— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) July 20, 2021
Imagine if these rules were in place during Danny Green’s era. Danny tea-bagged Greg Paulus during his junior year. He could have sold t-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, grill aprons, truck mud flaps... we’re limited only by our imagination.
Future recruits will have to consider this when they weigh up an offer from Carolina. The fanbase remembers their heroes, and now that they can associate the school logo with their NIL merchandise, the potential earnings could be astronomical.