OpenLocker Inc. has created a platform that allows college athletes to effectively monetize their name, image, and likeness (NIL) and engage with fans via non-fungible tokens (NFT).
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) had long barred players from profiting off their NILs but, a policy change in July changed all that. With players now able to make a buck off their name, NFTs have become a popular option for collegiate athletes. OpenLocker is hoping to capitalize on this shift towards NFTs with a new platform.
The company has already secured deals with athletes, both men, and women, from Power Five and mid to low-major conferences. Several other universities and tangentially related businesses are in talks to sign co-licensing agreements as well.
According to Biran Klatsky, Founder of OpenLocker, “We have entered a new era in college sports and the NIL business activity we have seen to date is just the tip of the iceberg. The model we are creating is unlike anything that would have been possible just a few months ago. It will be designed to empower college athletes to earn financial rewards for their hard work and contribution to the business of college sports.”
College sports NFTs
While the OpenLocker NFTs have yet to be released, the team says they will be ready to launch in Q4 2021. The company has hired a number of digital artists to actually create the art for each player along with VIP perks to go along with the art. According to OpenLocker “NFTs can better connect fans to their favorite teams or brands by offering voting rights to team decisions, access to exclusive offers, and the ability to earn rewards.”
While we wait for OpenLocker’s NFTs to officially debut, there are other options for those looking to invest in digital collectibles featuring college athletes.
One such project, named Dreamfield, was co-founded by FSU QB McKenzie Milton and Miami QB D’Eric King. The NFT company allows for players to mint trading cards of themselves for sale on the OpenSea marketplace.