The University of North Carolina and The Brandr Group (TBG) have launched the first-ever Group Licensing Program for current NCAA student-athletes. The initiative extends new opportunities for all Tar Heels to profit from using their Name, Image and Likeness and builds on the early success of Carolina’s Alumni Group Rights program, which launched in April. This new program invites all of UNC‘s current student-athletes to join a voluntary group licensing program, which will allow them to benefit from their NIL in conjunction with UNC’s official trademarks and logos.
The recent changes in the NCAA’s rules regarding NIL have paved the way for this historic opportunity. As part of this groundbreaking program, current Tar Heel student-athletes will have the chance to be marketed in groups of three or more within their sport or six or more across multiple sports in cobranded licensing and marketing programs with UNC’s Intellectual Property. TBG will develop licensing opportunities on behalf of the student-athletes in apparel and non-apparel categories and other co-branded sponsorships. Participation in the Group Licensing Program is voluntary and does not restrict the student-athlete’s individual NIL rights, meaning they may still negotiate opportunities outside of the program.
“This is an outstanding opportunity because it will allow our student-athletes to benefit, together, with our trademarks and logos – and to have more choices and chances to collectively benefit from their NIL,” said Bubba Cunningham, Carolina’s Director of Athletics. “I have long supported the group licensing concept because it can positively impact so many student-athletes. I’m proud that Carolina is the first program to support college athletes, past and present, through group licensing.”
TBG has industry-leading experience creating and managing similar programs with professional player associations and recently launched the Alumni Group Rights Program with UNC and other schools. TBG will work adjacent to the school’s licensing agency partner to identify prospective licensees and ensure student-athletes receive favorable opportunities. Student-athletes will receive a portion of the net revenues from cobranded programs. TBG will serve as a seamless point of continuity and expertise for developing collegiate group licensing opportunities for athletes while they are in college at UNC, during their professional careers and as alumni (whether or not they compete professionally).
“We are incredibly excited to be able to bring these new, previously untapped opportunities to current UNC student-athletes through this historic program,” said Wesley Haynes, Founder and President of TBG. “Our company was founded on the development of group licensing programs for the college market. To now represent the lifecycle of athletes from college to professionals to alumni puts us in a position to maximize opportunities for many of these athletes on a group basis.”
For decades, products that combine team logos and player names and numbers have accounted for a large portion of licensed sports merchandise sales at the professional level. This project opens the door for the same opportunities for current student-athletes at the collegiate level. Through this new approach, Carolina fans can own merchandise and other products featuring their school’s logo and the names and numbers of their favorite Tar Heels.