Skip to main content

USC signs with media agency Stay Doubted for NIL representation

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos06/15/22


USC has made its first steps to play an active role in the NIL landscape.

The Trojans athletic department announced Wednesday they have signed media agency Stay Doubted as a third-party option for their student-athletes. This will allow players to go in-house to support their pursuit of NIL opportunities.

Stay Doubted has established a subsidiary, named BLVD LLC. This company will operate as an agency and media company exclusively serving USC athletes in their search of partnering with businesses. At least seven full-time Stay Doubted employees will be dedicated to BLVD activities.

This unique move by USC and Stay Doubted will position the Trojans to assist student-athletes in NIL ventures on a day-to-day basis while not taking away time from coaching staffs. Only three percent of USC’s student-athletes have engaged with professional service providers, per the school press release announcing the partnership.

“From the moment the NCAA revised its rules regarding the use of NIL, President Carol L. Folt encouraged me to develop the best NIL support program in the nation for our student-athletes consistent with our vision to be the most student-athlete centered program in the country,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said in a university statement. “We offer dozens of services to support all aspects of the student-athlete experience: coaching, medical, academic, nutrition, strength training, sports psychology, career planning, and so many more.”

The company also has a major roster of partnerships. The roster includes Amazon, Microsoft, State Farm, Verizon, lululemon — all companies who have yet to make major moves in the NIL space.

Why this matters to USC, NIL landscape

USC has not rushed into the new world of NIL.

Making the move to hire Lincoln Riley obviously addressed some major needs in the football program, specifically recruiting and validation. But this latest move will put the Trojans in a unique category.

USC also does not have a collective. The school has now struck this deal with Stay Doubted, which creates an unassociated and unaffiliated organization focused only on USC athletes. But instead of the typical collective where donors are pooling funds together to pay players and find deals, this takes out all of the inducements out of the picture.

The Trojans just made their first move. And it is worth paying attention to how things shake out in LA.

How BLVD, USC will operate in new venture

USC athletes will not be forced to opt-in to the new NIL program, rather given the option to join the BLVD organization. The Trojans players will sign contracts with BLVD, but USC will not have access to the documents.

Arguably the biggest behind-the-scenes in this move is how BLVD will assist student-athletes with financial assistance. The company will provide access to NIL resources in banking, investing, taxes and accounting.

USC athletes will have a direct access to a professional app made for content creators. Let Creators Create is a media library focused on helping creators. This will give students tips and tools to make them successful in the space.

“Our marketplace, powerful alumni base, industry-leading guidance from Altius, and summer professional development programming with the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Marshall School of Business, Gould School of Law, and other schools provide a platform that has no equal,” said outgoing USC chief of staff Brandon Sosna in the release. “When those strengths are paired with Stay Doubted and BLVD, we believe we have the most strategic and sustainable NIL support program in the country for our student-athletes.”

BLVD announces plans for 2022-23 year

BLVD will launch later this summer in preparation of the 2022-23 academic year. There’s also a major aspect of the company that will be coming soon: The role of boosters.

Per USC’s statement, various membership levels will allow fans direct access to the athletes, “such as cameo style appearances, event appearances, autographed memorabilia, and more.”

The company plans to launch social media platforms, too. This, theoretically, could allow athletes to profit on telling their USC stories. The BLVD project is unprecedented, and this is at the forefront of the major change.