Skip to main content

The 1870 Society to start video monetization for Ohio State NIL funds

On3 imageby:Andy Wittry07/06/23


The 1870 Society, an NIL collective, began publishing new short-form video content produced by Ohio State athletes starting Wednesday, and the collective will monetize the videos through ads beginning July 15.

The 1870 Society is the second collective to launch a video monetization platform through a partnership with the video commerce solution provider Firework, Innovative New Media and Urban Edge Networks. Innovative New Media is the official reseller of Firework’s technology to collectives. Plus, it helps develop relationships with sponsors. Urban Edge Networks will help drive traffic.

Classic City Collective at Georgia started using the platform in late June. There are plans in the works to make a similar platform available for student-athletes at dozens of schools.

The 1870 Society president Todd Markiewicz said the collective has partnered with more than 50 Ohio State athletes across 14 athletic programs. He emphasized the platform will feature athletes beyond just Ohio State’s football and men’s basketball programs.

“It’s going to range anywhere from Cotie McMahon from women’s basketball to J.T. Tuimoloau to Lorenzo Styles Jr., Josh Simmons, Tywone Malone and plenty more,” Markiewicz said.

The first videos feature football players including Malone, Simmons former four-star safety Cedrick Hawkins, offensive linemen Zen Michalski, Jakob James, Enokk Vimahi and Josh Fryar, and volleyball setter Kamiah Gibson.

What will the videos look like?

Markiewicz said the videos will be 15 to 30 seconds long, featuring day-in-the-life content, such as training, going out to eat or playing video games. Gibson took viewers behind the scenes during a yoga session on an off day and Michalski gave a tour of Ohio State’s indoor practice facility.

“We see ourselves as a content creation company,” Markiewicz said. “We need to create content that drives eyeballs to the website so that people are seeing our subscription packages and people are being entertained at the same time. That way they’ll have a better understanding for how 1870 operates, which is different than others, and see what our values are.

“Hopefully, Buckeye Nation is entertained enough by the content we’re producing that they understand the need in the NIL space to keep Ohio State elite on the field. That’s the end goal. Firework is a great mechanism to help us do that.”

Firework says bread and butter is human interaction

Markiewicz said leaders of The 1870 Society stumbled across Firework, whose technology wasn’t yet being used in the collectives landscape at the time. After some meetings with Innovative New Media, Markiewicz said, “We were off to the races.”

“As we started thinking about the ecosystem, obviously wanted to work with the collective because that’s benefitting the players. Then how we could get brand partners involved to fund these programs or tie in with the student-athlete, which is where Innovative New Media came in,” said Firework Vice President of Retail & Sports Media Dan Wallace.

Markiewicz declined to comment on the potential revenue the platform can generate.

“We’re very confident in Firework’s ability to drive meaningful revenue on a monthly basis,” he said.

Before joining The 1870 Society, Markiewicz previously worked as the vice president and marketing manager of the Columbus-based radio station 97.1 The Fan.

“The fact that video can create more of that human interaction is really our bread and butter, and what sets ourselves apart from the market,” Wallace said. “If we put that in an NIL lens, we really want to create these collective pages as their own ecosystem of a destination content page where you can learn more about the players, what they’re doing on and off the field.”

While many collectives could use Firework’s technology by the end of the calendar year, Markiewicz teased potential strategies that might distinguish The 1870 Society’s website from other collectives.

“We’ve added some very unique elements to this that I’m not sure some other collectives using Firework have added,” he said. “I’m not going to say what that is. They’re going to have to discover that on their own. But I can tell you it is an incredible solution when you add that wrinkle in for businesses that are marketing products from outside manufacturers. I’ll leave it at that.”

Platform helps to ‘build that NIL pot’

Markiewicz said The 1870 Society has partnerships in the works with “huge brands that people will very much recognize,” including a grocer.

“These are big mid-six-figure deals that are going to change the landscape of NIL at Ohio State,” Markiewicz said.

Innovative New Media managing partner Michael Saks added, “Going out and trying to get donor money is not sustainable. At the end of the day, the student-athletes are the ones who suffer from that. Students at the universities where these donors who have been giving millions and millions of dollars to projects across the country at universities may not be able to do that because they’re providing dollars to a specific athlete or a specific program.”

The 1870 Society publicly launched in April. The limited liability corporation joined Ohio State’s ecosystem of collectives that also features the nonprofits The Foundation and Cohesion Foundation.

Markiewicz said despite The 1870 Society’s for-profit status, it’s not trying to make a profit.

“We are a company that is looking to take care of expenses and all other revenue goes straight to the athletes,” he said. “The reality is that model is what’s going to probably mature and develop as we move forward in this space because of those limitations on the 501(c)(3)s from the IRS and the NCAA.”

Additionally, Markiewicz said The 1870 Society is selling to businesses in Ohio the opportunity to use Ohio State athletes’ NIL rights to help their marketing.

“I think the student-athletes are having fun doing it,” Markiewicz said. “They understand the big picture that they’re helping us. Not only are they getting compensated for this but they’re also helping the big picture so that we can keep these teams elite on the play of field. That’s really the end goal. And it takes everybody for that to happen.

“We can’t do it without the content. Having that content allows us to build that NIL pot for all coaches and athletes at Ohio State.”