Name, Image, and Likeness (“NIL”) Attorneys

Name, Image, and Likeness (“NIL”) is an arrangement whereby a company or other advertiser pays an athlete to promote the company, and the athlete in turn does so by affording his/her name, image, or likeness to the brand.

Just as an athlete needs to coordinate and pay attention to the many aspects of trying to master his or her sport, there also are many moving parts within the NIL market, and it is critical that athletes and their families have trusted partners to help walk them through the process. Questions often arise about royalties, endorsements, sponsorships, appearances, and the like.  

The NIL market began to explode on a national level in 2021 when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that college athletes would be allowed to profit off their name, image, and likeness, resulting in a flood of lucrative endorsement opportunities for college athletes across the United States. Since then, a number of states have extended opportunities to high school athletes as well. These are just some of the important aspects of a successful NIL deal:

  1. Trusted advisors – being an athlete isn’t easy.  And since NIL is still uncharted territory, it is critical that the athlete and his/her family have an agent/advisor who can explain the process, help the athlete develop and maintain content, and ensure that the athlete stays true to his/her personal messaging along the way.
  2. Solid advertising partners – not all companies or advertising partners are the same.  Some provide higher levels of profitability, visibility, or accessibility than others.  The athlete and his/her family should be connected with persons and entities that can bring and vet those advertisers and sponsors that best suit the athlete’s needs and mission.
  3. Strong legal counsel – Like any business deal, it is important to have legal counsel who can draft the right contracts and help athletes and their families trouble shoot when legal issues arise.  A good lawyer can also ensure that the athlete is complying with all state and federal law, as well as whatever rules may be imposed by the NCAA or other sporting and/or educational institutions. 

If you are an athlete and you have an opportunity to take advantage of an NIL endorsement deal, or you just have questions, contact one of our New Jersey collegiate and high school athletes & NIL attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We will review any contracts or endorsement opportunities that you have been presented with, ensure that it is in compliance with NCAA regulations, and secure the most lucrative endorsement deal that also helps you stay true to your core values. To learn more, or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Our offices are in Morristown, Somerville, and Freehold, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients across the entire United States through partnerships with co-counsel in other jurisdictions.