Braelon Allen bobblehead created through NIL deal to promote The Varsity Collective

On3 imageby:Jeremy Crabtree10/19/22


As part of homecoming festivities this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin’s The Varsity Collective is hosting a tailgate to help generate attention for the recently relaunched NIL effort. But what might generate even more attention for the collective is an exclusive Braelon Allen bobblehead that was recently released through a NIL deal between the star running back and the collective.

According to promotion material released by The Varsity Collective, the Allen bobblehead is available to Badger fans that make a charitable donation of more than $250. The first 100 fans that donate more than $250 will have their bobblehead signed by Allen.

There isn’t a picture of the bobblehead available on the collective’s website. But there is an interactive graphic of Allen in bobblehead style on display. The head moves when you hover over it in true bobblehead fashion.

Braelon Allen having big season for Wisconsin

Despite Wisconsin’s up-and-down season which resulted in Paul Chryst’s firing, Braelon Allen has been one of the bright spots for the Badgers. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound sophomore running back has rushed for 757 yards and eight touchdowns. He rushed for 123 yards and two scores last week in a 34-28 loss last weekend against Michigan State.

Braelon Allen’s partnership with The Varsity Collective makes sense. Allen has an On3 NIL Valuation of $316,000 and ranks No. 117 in the On3 College Football NIL Ranking. He’s executed a number of big-time deals, including with Candy Digital last  week, and with Barstool Sports and Pepsi in August

Furthermore, he is one of the foundations of the Badger program. Keeping him around for the next coach will be paramount from a roster management standpoint.

Wisconsin relaunches Varsity Collective with major backing

The Varsity Collective went public this summer with former Wisconsin quarterback Brooks Bollinger and donor Ted Kellner as the main supporters. However, the collective relaunched in early September with a noteworthy group of alumni leaders, including Russell WilsonJJ WattMeghan DugganJoe Thomas and Sam Dekker.

The Varsity Collective is focusing on achieving two goals: maximizing NIL opportunities while also equipping Wisconsin student-athletes with lifelong experiences for their post-athletic careers.

“From our perspective institutionally, it was important to have a group that wanted to affiliate with us that was also aligned to what we view ourselves to be all about here,” said Brian Mason, Wisconsin’s Director of NIL Strategy told On3. “And that’s holistic support of the student-athlete. From everything that we’ve come to understand about The Varsity Collective and what their model is, I think that fits the bill. They have the good intent of supporting student-athletes not just in the NIL space but also help prepare them to take advantage of everything that comes along with NIL deals.”

Wisconsin alum and outgoing Unilever executive Rob Master serves as the collective’s executive chair and oversees day-to-day operations. Varsity Collective’s programming will base on its “four-pillar playbook” of NIL support, NIL branding support, fundraising and networking with Wisconsin alumni.

“How do we understand that this is a temporary moment in time for the student-athlete of playing for four years?” Master said to On3. “And if you think about it, 98 percent of these student-athletes are going to be professionals in something else that’s not sports. So, how do we help prepare those athletes for life after they are students? So, we built entire programming around student development to really help kind of shepherd and support the student-athlete, in addition to working with them on NIL.”