Michigan Company Fills New Niche by Connecting College Athletes to Business Opportunities

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A new Michigan-based company is tapping into a market opened up by an NCAA policy change that makes it easier for student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness to earn money.

Play Reserved is an app that helps college athletes navigate business opportunities and legal rights following a reversal by the NCAA Board of Directors in June.

It connects college athletes with brand sponsorships, helps them monetize interactions with fans. PlayBooked also offers legal advice on what the Supreme Court ruling allows.

“Think of it as a dating app,” said Patrick Werksma, one of the co-founders of PlayBooked. “Athletes sign up, they create a profile, and fans and brands can view their profile. Athletes set their price on what they would support their business, support a product, or what it would cost for a fan. athlete to just get a simple cry from them. “

So far, the company has recruited over 1,000 varsity athletes from across the country and a variety of sports.

“Some of these athletes are of immense value,” said Werksma. “And there are companies here that want to connect with them and they see the value and are willing to pay.”

He said Playbooked had been approached by companies interested in deals of $ 10,000 or more, but Werksma suggested most athletes would likely only earn a few hundred dollars a month.

One of the company’s first ideas came when Chloe mitchell, a rising freshman and volleyball player at Aquinas College, drew thousands of views for a video documenting her efforts to turn a tool shed into what she called “a shed.”

“I posted it, I went to bed, I woke up the next day and had 30,000 views,” Mitchell said.

@chloevmitchell I’m going to edit the second day on tiktok so it doesn’t look so bad ## coronasucks ## foryoupage ## bored ## morningcoffee ## morning ## happyathome ## tikrok_india? Beginner juggler – Joey Pecoraro

Since then, she has racked up over 2.5 million followers and signed up with an agent to handle brand referrals with companies such as Target and Walmart.

Mitchell was concerned that her sponsorships would render her ineligible as an athlete ready to play in an NAIA league, so she kept her connection to the sport quiet in her social media presence.

As her audience grew, Mitchell said she started talking about the situation to her father, a former college football player. “’It’s a whole part of my life that I don’t want to leave behind,” she recalls telling him. “‘There are people who follow me to get to know the real, real Chloe.'”

The idea for Playbooked emerged after the NAIA abandoned its policy of banning athletes from using their name, image, and likeness for monetary gain in October, and it was launched after the NCAA followed suit. June.

The league had long adhered to a standard that viewed student-athletes as amateurs, preventing them from enjoying college sports. The moving regular a Supreme Court ruling days earlier that lifted the cap on “education benefits” universities and colleges could extend to athletes.

Mitchell said his brand will continue to focus on DIY projects, but a connection to another Michigan user TikTok through PlayBooked prompted a more adventurous feat: skydiving.

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