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Ritz launches NIL campaign with star-studded lineup for March Madness

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos03/10/24


An official NCAA sponsor is jumping into the NIL space just in time for March Madness.

Ahead of this year’s men’s and women’s tournaments, Ritz has launched a marketing campaign to promote its two new toasted chip flavors: Sweet Habanero and Honey BBQ. As part of activation, the snack cracker company is working with 16 top college basketball players.

Headlined by names like Armando Bacot, Donovan Clingan, Hunter Dickinson and Juju Watkins, it’s one of the first major NIL campaigns launched ahead of this year’s March Madness. Athletes will post on their social media channels to get the word out about Ritz’s new flavors.

Through its partnership with the NCAA, Ritz will be on-site at the Phoenix Fan Fest for the men’s Final Four next month, hosting an interactive basketball shooting game where attendees can also try toasted chips. 

“We are putting all our chips on the NCAA March Madness tournament this year, and we’re thrilled to be back for our second year to share two, delicious new toasted chips flavors,” Ritz toasted chips’ senior brand manager Jennifer Sobolewski said.

Loaded NIL athlete roster for March Madness

Ritz made sure to tap a star-studded list of athletes to promote its new toasted chips. With more than 253,000 social media followers, Bacot is averaging 13.9 points and 10.1 assists per game this season for North Carolina.

Clingan turned down a shot at the NBA draft for a final year at UConn to defend his national championship. The Huskies are in position for a No. 1 seed in the tourney. Dickinson transferred from Michigan to Kansas this offseason, averaging 18 points and 10.8 rebounds this season.

The snack cracker company also tapped on Florida Gulf Coast’s Brandon Dwyer, Arizona’s Caleb Love, South Carolina’s Meechie Johnson, LSU’s Trace Young and Tennessee’s Zakai Zeigler.

On the women’s side, Watkins and Cameron Brink are two of the biggest names in the game. A freshman at USC, Watkins is second in the nation averaging 27.6 points per game. The Trojans play Brink and Stanford in Sunday’s Pac-12 championship game. The senior is averaging a double-double with 17.8 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinal.

Those aren’t the only stars. Ritz is working with North Carolina’s Alyssa Ustby, Arizona’s Jada Williams, Cal’s Mia Mastrov, South Carolina’s MiLaysia Fulwiley, Texas Shaylee Gonzales and Indiana’s Sydney Parrish.