The NIL Influence Playbook

The NIL Influence Playbook

From Sports Business Journal:

The NIL industry reached $1 billion in under two years. NIL opportunities for brands are going professional, but there are already lessons emerging from the practice squad.

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Dawn Launches NIL Influence

Dawn Launches NIL Influence

Integrates End-to-End NIL Expertise in Single Practice

New York, NY- October 4, 2022 – A partnership between two Dawn agencies, Bleacher Report and People First, NIL Influence is the premier agency to help marketers partner with high school, college, and professional athletes by leveraging new Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities.

Sports is the most engaged conversation driver on social media, and Bleacher Report is the authentic sports leader. Brands can tap into the nation’s love of sports and influence through athletes at scale using NIL Influence’s end-to-end support: brand and content strategy; athlete recruitment and negotiation; full-service creative and production; paid and earned amplification; and comprehensive measurement and evaluation.

NIL Influence is also differentiated by its ability to source athletes from any geography in any sport at all levels of sport across any channel. As a result, brands can now implement strategies combining local and national influence matched to any demographic group. NIL Influence is built on a sophisticated CRM platform to manage the entire process including recruiting, managing, tracking, analytics, content and rights/payments. People First has sourced and distributed more than 19,000 individual posts and videos.

“Americans increasingly distrust institutions,” said People First founder Curtis Hougland. “Instead, they trust their communities, and sports unites these communities. NIL Influence unlocks the potential for trusted messengers within diverse communities to share their experiences on behalf of brands and causes they love at scale. Rather than another one-off service, NIL Influences is full-service.”

NIL quickly became a $900 million business in 2022-23, although brands have not yet even tapped the longtail of colleges and universities across the country. According to Bleacher Report research, 90% of young fans are more interested in intros to new players than features on big stars. Bleacher Report also reports on how innovative NIL deals are becoming for a range of companies ranging from local HVAC suppliers to Lamborghini.

“Dawn agencies have delivered industry-leading growth, as we provide marketers best-in-class, dedicated discipline expertise,” said Dawn CEO Bob Kantor. “Bleacher Report and People First are both leaders in leveraging the power of influence and sports marketing. NIL Influence will provide expertise across all key disciplines in a single, fully integrated offering.

“Bleacher Report has provided brands with athlete access, insights, and best practices developed by the world’s foremost millennial and gen Z sports culture platforms. NIL Influence now provides the opportunity to tap into a new group of athletes with significant influence on consumers, recognizing  brands’ need to navigate the complexities of this new space and drive measurable results. With established relationships and expertise delivering content that engages audiences, NIL Influence is able to provide brands the strategic guidance and implementation to maximize ROI,” said Shawn Rubin of Bleacher Report/Playmaker.

About Bleacher Report: Bleacher Report is a leading sports media brand reaching more than 150 million hyper-connected young sports fans each month through distribution of premium content. It is the #1 sports brand driving engagement and video views across all social platforms and the Bleacher Report app, while fueling offline engagement through unparalleled experiences that blend sports with culture. Bleacher Report has a portfolio of brands that includes House of Highlights, B/R Football, B/R Kicks, B/R Gridiron, B/R Walk-Off, B/R Open Ice and B/R Betting, delivering customized content that caters to the unique passions of its fans across its owned and operated channels and world-leading social platforms. Bleacher Report is a division of Turner Sports, which provides it access to premium live content from the NBA, Major League Baseball, NHL and NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Find Bleacher Report on the industry-leading Bleacher Report app, and on Instagram @BleacherReport.

About People First: People First pioneered peer-to-peer marketing and campaigning. Originally founded to counter online extremism, People First built the first system to source and distribute peer-to-peer posts, videos, comments, and reviews from any community at whatever scale on any digital channel in any language. Brands and organizations can now organize advocacy within any geography, patient condition, identity, affinity, or demographic. In the previous two years, People first has sourced online content from more than 19,000 individuals. More more information visit

About Dawn: Dawn is the portfolio of best-in-class, marketing services agencies with centralized data science, advanced analytics, econometric measurement and media at the center. In partnership with talented, specialist agencies in advertising and branding, public relations, digital technology, brand strategy, CRM, comms planning, media, barter, influencer/peer2peer/social, and sports marketing, Dawn is The Modern Marketing Model.

Dawn partner agencies include Active, Barkley, Bleacher Report/Playmaker, Co:Collective, Crossmedia, Definition 6, Main Street One, NIL Influence, Pereira O’Dell, PeopleFirst, Redbox and RWS.  For more, visit