KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — NIL (which stands for name, image, likeness) is still in its infancy, and several local companies are throwing their hat in the ring to bring the best deals to the student-athletes at the University of Tennessee.
“There is a benefit obviously for hard sales when something good happens with the athlete, we get people coming in and purchasing cookies,” President of Moonshine Mountain Cookies Mike Maddux said. “Really the long term is the soft sales. The fact that we are a locally based company, even though we ship across the country, but that we affiliate with the University of Tennessee is huge.”
Not only are the sales going up for Moonshine Mountain Cookies, but Bacon and Company has seen a massive increase as well because of the new NIL deals.
Jed Dance, the President of Bacon and Company said that they have seen a 100% sales increase if not more. The company has used nearly 75 different graphics this year alone and is constantly coming up with new designs that UT fans have never had available before.
“For us, it’s a lot of different graphics. You know the players get hot or do something special, we have always wanted to come up with a new graphic or something unique,” Dance said. “So, we’ve seen quite an uptick because it’s a lot of new merchandise that’s never been available before for Tennessee fans.”
For many players, this is a great way to get their name in the ring and try to boost their brand before moving on from the college ranks.
“This is a great opportunity,” Vol Shop Marketing Manager, Tommi Grubbs said. “We have so many opportunities right now with different players that are not necessarily Hendon hooker or Tillman or, you know, Hyatt. We have jerseys for Selansky or you know all of the smaller type students.”
On Oct 23, AT&T announced that their first NIL deal in the nation had been signed with Tennessee student-athletes. UT also introduced a minor to help student-athletes capitalize on NIL deals.