LSU fans have been waiting for big news on the NIL front for a while and on Friday, they got some.
Fans can now buy customizable jerseys, featuring the names and numbers of active players. A portion of the cash from each sale will go directly to the player.
The deal is one of the first of its kind in the NIL world and a huge step forward for LSU. Even if other schools eventually end up doing the same thing, the publicity LSU will get for doing it first matters.
LSU Football made history Friday, becoming the first college football team to achieve near unanimous team participation in the recently announced Fanatics and OneTeam Partners co-branded player jersey program.
The customizable Nike jerseys, which will feature the name and number of every football student-athlete who opts into the program, will be available for purchase prior to the 2022 season, and players will be compensated for each of their jersey sales.
The co-branded player jersey program went live Thursday to dozens of schools, and LSU reached near-unanimous opt-in within 24 hours of launch. More information about how fans can purchase the jerseys of their favorite current LSU football players will be made available later this year. – via LSU press release
“This is a historic day in college athletics, and we’re proud and pleased to bring the storied tradition of LSU Football to the forefront of the sport through co-branded, licensed football jerseys,” said athletics director Scott Woodward. “For the first time ever, fans will be able to purchase authentic jerseys of their favorite LSU Tigers, and student-athletes will directly benefit from every sale. We cannot wait to see our jerseys on the sidelines and in the stands inside Tiger Stadium next season, and we eagerly anticipate additional player co-branded products for our student-athletes across all sports.”
Fair or not, there have been some grumblings from LSU fans over the last year that LSU was not doing enough when it came to NIL. Tiger fans watched as some other programs made a lot of noise while Baton Rouge remained mostly quiet.
The AD is known for his ability to cut deals. He got his start as a political liaison at LSU. He wasn’t going to sit around and watch LSU fall far behind in the NIL world.
This is how business is done now. Any program that wants to remain at the top of the sport will need to keep finding ways to stay on the cutting edge of NIL.
The NIL era is still in its infancy stage having only begun last July. There’s a lot of stuff that will change and a lot yet to be known. It’s difficult to predict how NIL will change the landscape of college football in the long run.
The jerseys are a step in the right direction for LSU as it really starts to navigate this new era of college sports.