FSU women’s soccer title leads to first-of-its-kind NIL group licensing deal to benefit female players

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A licensing agreement for the benefit of players has been created to mark the title.Images: getty

clothes that has been created celebrating the Florida State Women’s NCAA Football Championship is considered the first product contract that pays athletes for winning a title.

Royalties from sales will go to players who opted into a group licensing program to compensate them for their name, image and likeness rights.

A small percentage of the royalties would normally have gone to the NCAA because it was a championship event, but the governing body chose to waive its share for this program.

The complicated deal was brokered by Rising Spear, a company separate from the university, but operating on its behalf. In the new NIL world, Rising Spear is what is seen as a collective running lucrative business for Florida State athletes. Typically, the collectives arrange media appearances, autograph signings and, in some cases, endorsements. In this case, the Rising Spear collective is the licensor.

Courtesy of BreakingT

Collectives have sprung up across the college landscape because these third parties can facilitate NIL deals, while schools, in theory at least, aren’t allowed to help their athletes make money. In Florida’s NIL law, for example, schools cannot directly compensate their athletes, or cause compensation to go to athletes.

This is why Women’s Soccer Championship apparel is not found in the school bookstore or any of FSU’s online channels.

The clothing line, which includes $32 t-shirts and $55 hoodies, can only be purchased through BreakingT’s website, breakingt.com, the licensee that produces the line.

“I’ve been everything for NIL, and in this case, we thought it would be great if something could be done for student-athletes,” Florida State’s new athletic director Michael Alford said.

Rising Spear was founded in recent months by two longtime and highly influential Seminole supporters, Alan Flaumenhaft and Bob Davis.

The company, which redirects all revenue to gamers, signed those who opted into a group license that pays them the royalty.

The apparel features silhouettes of the players from the championship game winning moment with a specially designed FSU Championship logo by CLC, the school’s licensing agent. The Seminoles had to approve the use of his trademark and the championship logo that appears on the apparel. Specific royalty percentages weren’t made available by Rising Spear, but the company said it doesn’t keep any revenue from sales — it goes back to the players.

Katie Pugh, director of brand licensing at FSU, said the school is in discussions with its internal NIL task force about ways to create a co-branded product between the school and its athletes. The National Women’s Soccer Championship seemed like the perfect time for Pugh to start.

“It’s an ever-changing, ever-changing space,” Pugh said. “One of the top items on my to-do list is understanding group licensing and how we’re going to move forward.”

FSU is still awaiting its first BreakingT sales report.

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