Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Innings and the New Year! With muted celebrations around the country, some brands were able to make the most of the big night. Check out how Kia and Planet Fitness capitalized on empty space in Times Square.
The first college athlete to take advantage of the new name, image, and likeness rules is Chloe Mitchell, a freshman volleyball player at Aquinas College. She is using her social media platforms to sign deals and grow her brand.
The NAIA, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, passed the NIL legislation in October 2020, making it was only a matter of time until an athlete capitalized on the new legislation in this subdivision of college sports. Mitchell has also co-founded a company that will work with athletes to secure partnerships while in college.
Mitchell’s status as an NAIA athlete (different from the NCAA Division I, II, and III), and the fact that she plays a non-revenue generating sport (volleyball), provides a roadmap for other athletes in the college sports world. Popular opinion would suggest that only revenue-generating athletes in Division I would be able to find partnerships because of their regular exposure on national television.
Notable Information From the Sports World:
MLS: Major League Soccer has invoked its force majeure clause, ending the collective bargaining agreement with the Major League Soccer Players Association. Like most other leagues, the pandemic hit the MLS exceptionally hard, and this move was made to alleviate pandemic-related revenue shortfalls. The two parties now have 30 days to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, but a CBA isn’t mandatory to play a season.
Cycling: The question of when athletes should get the Coronavirus vaccine has popped up many times since the pandemic started. Emirati (United Arab Emirates) officials have designated the UAE Team Emirates cycling team as “high priority,” and they will be the first professional sports organization to receive the vaccine.
MLB: ESPN and the MLB are close to an agreement for a new playoff format. This new playoff round would expand the teams in the playoffs from 10 to 14, but it is something that needs to be negotiated with the MLB Players Association. With the MLB CBA expiring after this season, the union could use the universal DH as a bargaining chip to an expanded playoff.