Hey Dude releases collegiate collection, launches NIL campaign with 12 athletes

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos09/25/23


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Hey Dude is jumping head first into the college athletics sphere.

The popular shoe company released its collegiate collection last week. With licensed marks from a range of schools including Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Florida and LSU, it’s a great chance for fans to represent their team.

But the brand took the campaign a step further, signing NIL deals with 12 high-profile college athletes to promote the new product. In the new age of college sports, it’s a smart marketing move to put Hey Dude in front of consumers in specific markets.

The campaign was facilitated by the sports marketing agency Postgame. Athletes earned different levels of compensation based on factors such as the size of their social media followings and their engagement rates. Full terms of the agreements were not shared.

Hey Dude tabbed a range of college athletes, ranging from football to gymnastics. Those athletes include:

The sneakers come in men’s and women’s sizes. Priced at $74.99, fans can purchase them online or at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Boat shoe-esque, Hey Dude has become a popular go-to shoe for Gen Z. Acquired by Crocs in February 2022, the brand grew by 70% and generated roughly $1 billion in sales last year.

The company has become a major spender in NIL, too. Before South Carolina baseball opened the NCAA tournament this past spring, nine players inked NIL deals with Hey Dude. All of the brands NIL campaigns are run through Postgame.

Hey Dude signs multiple NIL stars

Hey Dude and Postgame worked closely together on the marketing, strategically partnering with some of the biggest names in college sports.

Represented by Sportstars and Rubicon, Ewers continues to be a trailblazer in the NIL space. In recent weeks, he rolled out his new custom merchandise line produced by Vapor Apparel. The quarterback inked an exclusive NIL agreement with Panini America, too. And after the Week 2 win over Alabama,  C4 Energy partnered with Ewers. The third-year quarterback currently holds a $743,000 On3 NIL Valuation, which ranks in the top 35 of college football. He’s also amassed upwards of 220,000 social media followers.

Daniels has found success since transferring to LSU. The quarterback entered a partnership with the Baton Rouge-based Raising Cane’s in August. He recently starred in a commercial for Powerade, too, as part of a national campaign. His valuation of $568,000 is No. 55 in college football.

With success on the field and NIL, combined with the strong Tennessee brand and a big social media following, Milton has an On3 NIL Valuation of $380,000. The valuation ranks in the top 120 of the college football NIL rankings. He has been a popular name for Knoxville-based companies, working with a local McDonald’s franchise and Hometown Realty.

Milroe has been handed the keys to the Alabama offense officially. The quarterback has a multi-year NIL agreement with the sportswear company Rhoback. He has a $206,000 On3 NIL Valuation.

Mertz, the Florida quarterback who transferred from Wisconsin, has been thriving since the move. Florida is No. 22 in the nation entering this weekend’s game at Kentucky. He has a $296,000 On3 NIL Valuation. The valuation ranks in the top 165 of college football.

Curry and Jackson are both women’s basketball stars back for another year. A former point guard at Cal, Curry transferred to Louisville this offseason. She has upwards of 55,000 social media followers. And Jackson has had no trouble finding NIL deals, thanks to a social media following of 407K and an $81,000 On3 NIL Valuation.