Phoenix Partner Gregg E. Clifton recently authored an article for the March-April 2023 issue of LEAD1 Association's Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Institutional Report. Titled "The Worlds of Music and Collegiate Sports Combine with NIL," the article discusses how college athletes continue to broaden their NIL opportunities beyond the collegiate sports context.

Mr. Clifton opens the article by observing that the music and collegiate sports worlds historically "have each retained their own identity separate from one another for almost the entire time since college-athletes garnered the right to market their NIL rights for personal benefit." He goes on to explain, however, that these "distinct worlds of music and collegiate sports have begun to merge over the rights of college athletes attempting to maximize their NIL rights."

Next, the article discusses specific examples of college athletes who recently have attempted to maximize their NIL opportunities, including one Louisiana State University (LSU) basketball player and rapper who "signed one of the most notable NIL deals yet." With her "unique combination of athleticism as a basketball star and musical talent as a hip-hop star," she entered into an individual shoe endorsement deal with Puma, while LSU signed a separate endorsement agreement with Nike. Mr. Clifton explains that "Puma's interest in securing a contract with the college athlete is clearly impacted by her social media popularity, which extends beyond her basketball prowess."

Mr. Clifton also points out that with the broadening of college athletes' NIL deals, there is an increased likelihood of individual deals conflicting with the terms of exclusive endorsement agreements that the athletes' schools have entered. He explains that to address this potential conflict, shoe companies that sponsor athletes who play at schools that are under contract with competing companies will enter the individual agreements with an understanding that the athletes will wear the school-sponsored apparel when they play their sport.

Mr. Clifton is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Entertainment, Media & Sports and Labor & Employment Practices. He has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world and has advised numerous professional franchises on a range of labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. Mr. Clifton is also an editor of The Official Review, Lewis Brisbois' sports law blog.

Access the full NIL Institutional Report March-April 2023 issue here (Mr. Clifton's article appears on page 13).

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