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Georgia gymnast Rachel Baumann is pledging allegiance to a pro team for a different kind of name, image and likeness deal.
The NL East leading Braves in a July 7 Instagram post went in search of college athletes to work with the team looking for those that are Braves fans, play at a school in “Braves Country,” and are active on social media, according to a press release at MLB.com.
There were 40,000 engagements and 500 direct messages from athletes interested.
Baumann, a senior from Plano, Texas, who competed on the beam, floor and vault, was selected, as was Yates, sophomore from Alpharetta, Georgia.
“I basically just commented on it and said I was very interested,” Baumann said in a phone interview. “On Aug. 5, they DMed me back and said they chose me which is crazy.”
Baumann told her more than 8,300 Instragram followers Monday that she’s “so excited to become the first ever female BRAVES ATHLETE! Stay tuned for more details:) #gobraves”
The Atlanta Braves are the first MLB team to reach an NIL deal with a college athlete, signing two today ✍️
🏈 Georgia Tech QB @jor_yates
🤸♀️ UGA Gymnast @rachelbaumann_
The pair will receive stipends, merch, VIP treatment, and commission on tix sold through their social media. pic.twitter.com/xoZxgc2KYv
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) August 23, 2021
Growing up outside of Dallas, Baumann was a Texas Rangers fan.
“Coming to Georgia seeing how big sports is here, I really got into the Braves more than I was with the Rangers,” Baumann said. “I’m here more often too than I am home. I went to a couple of games and I just really liked it.”
Baumann said she’ll be at Saturday’s home game against the Giants. The Braves said Baumann and Yates will “work closely with the Braves’ social media and marketing team to document their experiences."
Yates played in three games as a backup QB in 2020, completing 4-of-9 passes for 16 yards.
The Braves became the first MLB team to partner with college athletes since the NIL took effect for NCAA athletes on July 1.
“As soon as the new NIL guidelines were set last month, we knew there was an opportunity to highlight the convergence of Braves Country and strong local athletes,” Greg Mize, the senior director of marketing and innovation for the Braves, said in the release. “For our first partnerships, we wanted to focus on schools in our backyard, and the hope is the program will continue to expand to include student-athletes from throughout Braves Country.”
Baumann confirmed what Mize told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she’ll get paid about $500 and then get a commission on Braves tickets sold through links on her social media accounts and get VIP treatment at Braves game along with Braves merchandise.
“It will be pretty cool,” Baumann said. “I’ll go to the game…and post about it and basically share my experience with my friends. I’ll post a link in my bio and in my (Instagram) story for people to buy tickets at a significant discount, even for Friday and Saturday games which they said is very unusual. It will be pretty cool.”
Baumann, who is majoring in Management Information Systems at the Terry College of Business, said she also will post soon about an NIL deal with a local leotard brand.
“Just working out some details with that,” she said.
This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Braves sign gymnast Rachel Baumann, QB Jordan Yates to NIL deals