We’ve seen UT athletes making sponsorship deals with restaurants, retail and even crypto-created NFTs—and soon, a $10 million fund will help athletes further profit off of their name, image and likeness.
The Clark Field Collective is a $10 million fund set up by former Longhorn athletes, donors and sports marketer Nick Shuley to "ensure college athlete success year after year,", according to the funds' website. For the first time, Texas collegiate student-athletes have been able to profit off of their hard work and clout after a Texas bill was passed this summer. The Wednesday announcement is the latest in opportunities for UT athletes to make a profit off their name, image or likeness.
According to its site, the fund will look to accomplish four things: to "cultivate relationships with businesses, donors and fans," facilitate "opportunities in a compliant fashion," educate "college athletes on business" and protect "eligibility of college athletes." The fund was aided by former UT stars including former NBA player TJ Ford, who will serve on the board, former NFL safety Kenny Vaccaro and former professional volleyball player Juliann Johnson.
At the helm is new CEO Shuley, who has experience marketing for ACL and Bo Jackson.
“The University of Texas at Austin maintains the largest, wealthiest alumni donor base in the entire country,” Shuley said. ”It’s time a network like this existed to support our college athletes. The Collective is being established to make that happen.”
Collegiate athletes haven't hesitated in securing deals from T-shirts to chain restaurant sponsorships. Football star Bijan Robinson has done both with sponsorships by Centre Apparel and Raising Cane's, and he's also the first current Longhorn to create his own NFT—a kind of digital collector's item that serves as trading cards for the crypto world. More NFTs are on the way with NiftyHorns, which has created these digital cards for two Longhorn athletes and hopes to add the whole athletic roster in the future.
As of Oct. 25, Axios found that 175 NIL agreements had been disclosed with the university across a variety of sports—and perhaps surprisingly, softball sat at the lead with 33 signings thus far. The university has pitched in with a LEVERAGE program designed to educate student-athletes with "comprehensive programming around name, image and likeness to equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to maximize their brand and platform."
The program also hosts a directory to connect athletes with potential companies. Meanwhile, a SurlyHorns program has introduced all tight ends to guaranteed four-figure earnings—even for walk-ons—through its new "Burnt Ends" program.
The Clark Field Collective will look to provide equal opportunities to all athletes and spread its funds to all sports.
“Our goal is to create something that becomes both the gold standard in the field, and a one-stop fund to be disseminated amongst all sports for NIL activities activated through: endorsements, autographs, appearances, and more,” Shuley said. “Through a multi-tiered approach beginning with the donors, followed by major brand participation and ultimately brand building, we will create something that allows for stability, sustainability and growth over the years at Texas.”
It's a fund they hope will extend far into the future—and in turn, attract new athletes to the university as schools across the country look to attract prospects with more than just what's on the field.
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- San Marcos favorite Industry Burger opens "mid-October" on E. 5th, featuring "low key healthy" Texas fare.
- Still Austin Whiskey Co. introduces "The Artist," its new rye whiskey.
- Domain NORTHSIDE favorites Bakery Lorraine, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Jeni's Ice Cream and Sprinkles released their fall flavors.
- Cinnaholic at The Arboretum opens Friday, October 14, serving "create your own" cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats.
- San Francisco's Marufuku Ramen opens next Wednesday, October 12, in the Mueller District.
- Carpenter Hotel announces its popup food truck, Lil Carpenter, open Fri-Sun both ACL weekends, serving what you want, early to late, coffee to donuts, to dogs/burgers/fries/beer.
With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."