Branding is something that has always been of the utmost importance to athletes as they showcase not only who they are on the field or court, but who they are off of it as well. However, this new era of name, image, and likeness within college sports has brought a new urgency to athletes in creating the most marketable personal brand as possible to catch the attention of some of the largest companies and audiences across the country. Matt Corral, quarterback of the Ole Miss Rebels, did just that on Monday when he announced his Heisman Campaign would be showcased in Times Square on a video board. Times Square, which averages nearly 360,000 pedestrians each day. It certainly is one of the most unique usages of personal brand marketing within the NIL landscape thus far. Although he wasn’t selected as one of the finalists, it is remarkable to see a 22 year old collegiate athlete be showcased on one of the most iconic marketing platforms in the world to showcase his brand. The 18-story video board was sponsored by Panini America, who Corral entered an NIL deal with this past summer.
This isn’t the first deal we have seen the junior signal caller enter into. Along with Panini America, which is the largest licensed sports and entertainment collectibles company, Matt Corral has a line of custom merchandise. The brand, which is named Manifest and Conquer, showcases Corral’s encouragement to “Keep going in the face of adversity…Never forget, your mentality dictates reality.” He also is partnered with Dreamfield Sports, where fans can request an appearance with Corral starting at $10,000 per hour. The opportunities are endless during these exciting times for athletes. The ability to elevate your brand while utilizing the massive platform you have as a student-athlete can bring you tremendous value. Matt Corral is certainly capitalizing on that.