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Arizona State football players become first to monetize highlights through NIL

Andy Wittry09/05/22
Article written by:On3 imageAndy Wittry


On3 image

On the first play from scrimmage in Arizona State‘s football season, defensive back Edward Woods shed a blocker to wrap up Northern Arizona‘s Coleman Owen after Owen broke two tackles. A new-in-2022 benefit is that Woods can monetize the video of the play using his NIL, thanks to a new partnership involving the Pac-12, Twitter, NIL technology company Opendorse and technology company Tempus Ex Machina.

The partnership was announced in early August and Arizona State football players provided the first examples of its utility.

Since the Sun Devils won their season opener 40-3 last Thursday night in a game that aired on the Pac-12 Network, Woods was able to share the highlight at 10:26 a.m. PDT Saturday, or 1:26 p.m. EDT. That’s when much of the country’s college football-watching audience was tuned into the first window of Saturday’s Week 1 games.

At least nine Arizona State players posted highlights on Saturday or Sunday, including Woods, defensive back D.J. Taylor Jr., kicker Eddie Czaplicki, wide receiver Gio Sanders, defensive lineman Omarr Norman-Lott, running back Daniyel Ngata, defensive back Willie Harts, offensive tackle Isaia Glass and defensive lineman Tautala Pesefea Jr.

Players included at least one hashtag such as #Pac12MediaHighlights or #Opendorse. Some of the tweets include a source label for Opendorse.

The broadcast-quality footage, which was filmed from various camera angles, doesn’t include sound. The initial announcement for the partnership said pre-roll advertisements will be added through the Twitter Amplify platform, which will allow athletes to receive a commission.

However, the Arizona State players’ tweets from the weekend don’t appear to include pre-roll advertising.

Arizona State players share teammates’ highlights

Based on the early returns from the new partnership, players might promote their teammates’ highlights as often as their own.

Taylor, the defensive back, tweeted a video of his teammate Kyle Soelle‘s second-quarter interception.

Czaplicki, the kicker, and Glass, the offensive tackle, each shared different angles of running back Xazavian Valladay‘s 27-yard touchdown run. Glass celebrated the score by lifting Valladay up in the end zone.

Harts, a defensive back, posted a video of a different touchdown run by Valladay.

Ngata, a running back who has a relatively small following on Twitter with roughly 3,700 followers, tweeted a video of one of his carries that has since been viewed more than 10,600 times as of Monday morning. The Arizona State football program’s official Twitter account, which has more than 230,000 followers, retweeted Ngata’s tweet.

That provided a signal boost to the tweet, which could theoretically provide more compensation.

ESPN reported that Pac-12 football players who participate in the program will receive $1,250 in exchange for posting two highlights per week, plus a percentage of the program’s revenue.

The NIL impact of this partnership

For Pac-12 football players will be the first crop of athletes to benefit from this partnership. Men’s and women’s basketball will be next, with hopes for conference-wide expansion. This is a more passive source of income than most NIL opportunities. It’s less time intensive and requires less effort than making an appearance, signing autographs or filming a commercial.

The only activity that’s required, in addition to playing in games, is tweeting. Athletes receive access to curated highlights after the game.

Many college athletes have larger followings on other social networking platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok. This program could provide an incentive for Pac-12 athletes to become more active on Twitter.

It’s notable that the Pac-12 found a way to grant athletes access to monetization opportunities that involve some of the conference’s highlights. Media rights are incredible valuable — just look at the Big Ten’s recently announced media rights deal that will be worth more than $7 billion over seven years — and their owners are often incredibly protective of them.

For example, social media accounts that post sports highlights without authorization are often flagged for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violations.

For now, Pac-12 football players have a unique NIL opportunity. However, it’s one that could be easily replicated.

“It’s agnostic,” Tempus Ex co-founder and COO Annie Gerhart previously told On3’s Pete Nakos. “If the Big Ten called tomorrow, they could have a server in stadiums in 48 hours. If the players in the Big Ten came to us and said, ‘We want to do this,’ the technology does not care if it’s Big Ten basketball or SEC softball. All that needs to happen is placing a server in the stadium.”