Data From INFLCR Gives Insight Into NIL Collectives And The NIL Economy

INFLCR, a content and compliance software solution for college athletic programs, is sharing data from its platform that gives us some insight into the role school-specific support organizations—often referred to as “collectives”—currently play in the name, image and likeness landscape.

The data is culled from INFLCR’s more than 50 school-specific Local Exchanges, platforms that are customized for each institution and provide approved businesses, collectives and individuals a portal for communicating with student athletes and fulfilling NIL transactions.

Currently, INFLCR says transactions from collectives account for more than one-third of total Local Exchange payment volume to student athletes. The most common collective NIL payments have been categorized as public appearances, followed by royalty payments, followed by social media and autographs.

The average payment sent by a collective through the Local Exchanges is $1,257, which is only slightly more than the $1,203 average at those same schools from non-collective transactions. However, the median collective payment of $959 is nearly three times the median non-collective payment of $387.

Jim Cavale, founder and CEO of INFLCR, says he doesn’t think the data tell us as much about collectives, however, as it does about the state of the NIL economy right now.

“I think NIL has these traditional and non-traditional set of segments. The traditional segment is what we’ve seen brands, from small businesses and local businesses all the way to big Fortune 500 national brands, do with their products and services through athletes and their endorsements for decades at the pro level, or even with celebrities outside of sports.”

That traditional side has evolved more slowly Cavale says because it’s been difficult for those companies to figure out how to work with athletes when there’s no one between them and the athlete—like an agent or players association—the way there is in pro sports.

“As we’ve had to wait for the traditional side evolve, a non-traditional form has evolved. The non-traditional form is donor-funded, just like development and fundraising efforts on campus have always been donor-funded.”

“There’s creative value exchanges for these donor funds, whether it’s promoting a charity, or making an appearance, or promoting a donors business, or attending an event and speaking. And, in most cases, they’re legitimate value exchanges. But the dollars are coming from donors, and these collectives, whether they’re donors or fans.”

However, Cavale doesn’t think the current balance between traditional and non-traditional is here to stay.

“I don’t know how sustainable all of them are because not all of those teams are going to perform or do well.”

Cavale is quick to say that just because athlete success with NIL is tied to performance doesn’t mean it’s really thinly veiled pay-to-play.”

“NIL is tied to the success of an athlete, very much so, at every level. An athlete’s performance, their influence on social media and in the community, and the exposure of the school that they attend really is what is calculating their NIL value.

“So, as athletes and their teams perform, I think those collectives will continue to participate. But as athletes and teams don’t perform, I think that those donors and fans may not participate as much.”

“Collectives are a necessary bridge that arose to allow athletes to monetize their NIL very early in this new market, and that bridge is buying time for brands, small and big, local and national, to figure out how to work with athletes and transact with them for their NIL.”

Cavale expects the NIL marketplace will continue to evolve in ways that will help athletes in the dealmaking and fulfillment phases so that brands small and big, local and national, begin participating more and make up a larger piece of the overall pie.

“Now, it’s more even between traditional and non-traditional NIL dollars going to athletes, but over time, I think that will flip and you’ll see more traditional dollars enter as time goes on.”