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NIL and TikTok: A Match Made in Heaven

By: Spencer Bauer


With the implementation of “Name, Image, and Likeness,” (NIL) legislation around the country, student athletes are now able to profit off of their likeness and enter into endorsement contracts. One of the easiest ways student athletes can market themselves and receive compensation based on their likeness is engaging with brands on social media. More and more student athletes are utilizing social media as a tool to engage with fans as well as promote athletic and lifestyle products. In particular, student athletes are experiencing a great deal of exposure on the social media platform, TikTok.


TikTok, a short form video-sharing app that allows users to create and share videos on any topic, has over 800 million active users worldwide since its creation in 2016, including 30 million active users in the United States. College athletes have been able to grow a significant following on the platform by documenting what they experience in their daily life as a college athlete, collaborating with sponsored brands and by participating in viral trends such as dances and challenges. For example, Louisiana State University Gymnastics’ Olivia Dunne, has amassed 5 million followers on TikTok and has received over 175 million likes on her video posts. Additionally, twin sisters, Haley Cavinder and Hanna Cavinder, both play basketball for Fresno State University and currently have over 3 million combined followers on TikTok. The Cavinder twins have recently been sponsored by Boost Mobile and Six Star Pro Nutrition.


Since NIL legislation has been implemented in select states, brands are more than eager to get involved with college athlete’s social media. Student athletes are now able to enter into agreements with brands that will pay the athlete based on likes, views and overall exposure of the branded content. TikTok may be the most marketable social media platform due to its short video format being very user friendly and viewers can experience advertising from brands in under fifteen seconds. Since the majority of the content can be filmed and posted in under a minute, student athletes can post branded content and literally dance to the bank. There is no indication that TikTok’s growth will slow down anytime soon. It would be in the best interest of all college athletes, regardless of their current social media follower count, to get involved in TikTok in any way possible.

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