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Alabama to start selling player NIL merchandise in Bryant-Denny Stadium

It doesn't exactly take Warren Buffett to spot this business opportunity.

It doesn't exactly take Warren Buffett to spot this business opportunity.

You're in the concourse of Bryant-Denny Stadium, surrounded by kids and misguided adults in crimson No. 9 jerseys with no name on the back. You make your way to the stands, where Bryce Young stars in the No. 9 jersey. Yet, Young receives the same cut of the profits as you -- none.

That will soon change at Bryant-Denny and, one assumes, many other stadia around college football.

On Monday, Alabama announced the creation of The Authentic, a Fanatics-partnered store that will produce Nike jerseys with player NOBs (names on back) will cut players in on the action. Here's the official verbiage from Alabama:

The expanded partnership will allow the University to capitalize on Fanatics merchandising platforms to create, promote, and distribute Alabama merchandise featuring the name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights of current Crimson Tide student-athletes. As a cornerstone of the new agreement, Fanatics will launch The Authentic, the first-ever retail team store to be opened inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Expected to launch during the upcoming 2022 college football season, the new, one-of-a-kind fan shop powered by Fanatics will feature a significant assortment of officially licensed team apparel and student-athlete NIL merchandise, including customized Nike player jerseys, customized name and number t-shirts, headwear, official game-used memorabilia, on-demand digital trading cards from Topps, and more.

This isn't a collective that seems to exist on paper and nowhere else, and it doesn't reward recruits and transfers while passing over current players, thereby passing by the potentially adversarial entanglements of the new NIL era: player and school competing for the same donor dollars, or player against player. 

In other words, it's easy to see why Alabama hopped on board so forcefully.

The Authentic retail space will also create innovative engagement opportunities for Crimson Tide student-athletes to provide autographed memorabilia, conduct fan meet and greets, and conduct social media marketing to support sales of their NIL merchandise. Fanatics will work with OneTeam Partners in securing group licensing rights for activation for NIL rights on merchandise, in addition to separate marketing and autographs partnerships.

Additionally, the Alabama Athletics Department, with its partnership with Nike, will provide on-field performance products and specific fan merchandise for the Crimson Tide's Athletics programs, including authentic and replica jerseys, headwear, and apparel.

Obviously, it remains to be see how big a cut Young will get for every No. 9 jersey in the stands, but this is a no-brainer solution for Alabama, and for every other program with jerseys to sell. 

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