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Pac-12 Networks will help athletes use their game highlights for NIL deals

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On the eve of the first college sports season in which student athletes can legally earn compensation for use of their name, image and likeness, one avenue that could prove particularly lucrative figures to come from game footage and highlights.

The Pac-12 is launching an initiative to help its athletes take advantage of such opportunities.

Pac-12 Networks, along with licensing partner Veritone, will help athletes who want to make use of their own highlights negotiate the licensing process for commercial use. This is the first Power Five conference to introduce such a program, but others likely will follow in this new era of college sports.

The Pac-12 is helping its athletes use their own game highlights in sponsorship deals.
The Pac-12 is helping its athletes use their own game highlights in sponsorship deals.

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“The Pac-12 Networks NIL Licensing Program is an important step in recognizing and celebrating the new opportunities available to student-athletes,” Pac-12 Networks President Mark Shuken said in a release. “We are proud to provide this new, streamlined process for student-athletes and their NIL partners to easily access and make the most of Pac-12 Networks footage in this new landscape.”

Under the league’s licensing arrangement, Pac-12 Networks own licensing rights to any game footage hosted by the conference. This means, for example, that highlights from UCLA’s home football game against Hawaii from last Saturday could be used, even though the game itself aired on ESPN.

There are limitations, of course. Clips used on social media for personal use or for editorial purposes would not be subject to compensation.

Mike Arthur, Veritone‘s senior vice president and general manager, clarified there are a couple of ways such footage might entitle an athlete to payment. A sponsor could enter into an agreement with an individual athlete and subsequently license footage from the network, or a sponsor could come to the network directly, in which case a student-athlete clearance fee would be passed back to the sponsoring brand.

“There could be any number of use cases,” Arthur said. “It could be for a promoted social media post or a linear television commercial for that matter.”

It’s difficult to speculate just how much money such action footage could generate for an individual player. Generally speaking, an endorsement appearance fee can bring payment of four to low five figures, according to industry standards.

“That is going to vary,” Arthur said. “The free market’s a pretty amazing organ of commerce, and this is still a very new process. Obviously there are a lot of dynamics to it, but the best way for me to answer that at this stage is you’re going to see some athletes that can generate six figures, most likely through direct endorsements.”

But Arthur emphasized that such opportunities aren’t just for football and basketball, pointing out that a number of clips of UCLA gymnastics routines have gone viral over the last year.

“There are just a lot of neat clips out there, involving every men’s and women’s sport,” he said. “We aren’t in the business of directing student-athletes to these opportunities, but I think what you’re going to see is the compliance offices at these institutions are going to grow as they are tasked with helping their athletes navigate these waters.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pac-12 to aid athletes looking to use highlights in NIL deals