The NFLPI announced today that over $1 billion of player-related merchandise was sold in the last fiscal year. And the NFLPI is experimenting with a technology that could add more endorsement money to its constituents’ pockets.
A deal was finalized between NFL Players Inc and the digital marketing company Opendorse that has created a platform called Activate that will be used by the NFL and its players. Activate will allow brands to seek positive buzz and tweets by players. The deal represents the first time a players union has allowed brands to access union members for social media purposes.
Activate is still in its testing phase, expected to launch fully in July, but already has almost 200 players utilizing the platform.
Players are sent a tweet by a brand, at which point the player and his representation can either approve or deny the tweet. When a tweet is approved by both parties, the message is sent out through the player’s Twitter account and then the company is charged a service fee, which is split between Opendorse and the NFLPI.
We’re still left to wonder what Nate Burleson would have been paid for this legendary stunt, but, in all, the deal is quite lucrative for both parties.
Opendorse immediately becomes the premier digital marketplace to access football players while the players are able to streamline their Twitter endorsement deals. Opendorse is also negotiating with individual athletes in other professional sports leagues, but the deal with the NFLPI could set a precedent for the NBA, MLB and others to follow.
Social media has become an important part of every athlete’s branding, and it is interesting to see the NFL once again serve as the flag bearer for the marketing of the game.