In Response to: https://www.bakertilly.com/insights/higher-ed-advisor-creating-sustainability-student-athletes-nil-era
As student athletes are introduced to the world of NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy is still a largely untapped resource and serves as an excellent way to maximize personal brand reputation and minimize associated risk. While the notion of ESG may not be standard in NIL discussions just yet, as students become increasingly valuable to brands and student influence begins to extend past collegiate years, recognition of the benefits of these strategies will lead to new opportunities for the usage of ESG.
Incorporating ESG strategies into NIL deals can not only enhance the personal brand of student athletes, but also can protect them from potential risks. By partnering with companies that prioritize sustainability and responsible business practices, student athletes can align their personal brands with values that are becoming increasingly important to consumers and sponsors. This not only expands their appeal to a wider audience, but also showcases their commitment to ESG values, likely improving their reputation and enhancing their personal brand. As new generations are becoming more aware of their social responsibility and involved with their consumption, more eyes are placed on brands and influencers, and ESG practices provide the perfect way for student athletes to prepare themselves.
ESG strategies can also help student athletes reduce the risk associated with different companies and organizations. By considering a company’s ESG record, student athletes can ensure they are partnering with organizations that are not only committed to responsible practices, but more importantly, are economically sustainable. ESG analysis can help provide assurance about the success of the partnership in the eyes of the public, but also to validate the opportunity financially, as companies with strong ESG records are more likely to be profitable and maintain market prominence in the long term. Students are becoming further affiliated with the brands they partner with, so it is important to ensure that these companies will grow alongside the athlete in both popularity and profitability.
It’s also crucial for student athletes to consider their goals beyond college, and ESG tools can aid them in making responsible decisions. Student athletes are becoming entrepreneurs as much as they are athletes, and the ultimate goal of NIL ventures is to build a business with or without athletics. Partnering with companies that prioritize ESG values increases the opportunities for these students to shape their personal brands into sustainable and robust businesses that can continue to grow past collegiate athletics.
In conclusion, incorporating ESG strategies into NIL deals is becoming an increasingly important consideration for student athletes looking to maximize their personal brand and mitigate risk. By utilizing ESG firms and strategies, student athletes will be able to align themselves with ESG values that are important to consumers and sponsors, reduce the risk associated with partnering with certain companies, and build a personal brand that extends beyond their college years.
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