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Timing Requirements in NIL Agreements: Making Sure Athletes Have Time to Perform

Over the course of the last several years, being an “influencer” is the “in” thing to be. Influencers can make money hand over fist by recording themselves doing dances, cooking, singing, modeling, and many other things. As influencers have garnered more and more compensation for promotion of brands, the production quality has changed and enhanced with camera crews and other videographers following influencers just waiting to catch the next “it moment”.

Most athletes, even those with substantial followings on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, still shoot their own video with their cellphones. Unlike Jake Paul and Addison Rae (and many others), athletes do not have camera crews and, frankly, do not have the time during the academic year to create content like other influencers who devote all of their working attention to developing content. Athletes have to balance classes, practices and competitions, and social life without taking into account endorsement and promotional opportunities. As a result, it is important to closely read the “timing” language in NIL agreements. The following is an example of such language:

Athlete acknowledges and agrees that the Services and Content shall be provided in accordance with the specifications, criteria, timing and other requirements specified by Sponsor and as set forth in this Agreement.

This one sentence is vitally important, because the sponsor has the authority to determine the “timing” of when services and content are to be provided. During the academic year, athletes’ schedules have little open time to accommodate a sponsor’s demands for content especially content that has to be rehearsed and shot by a third-party. It is important to include language in the NIL agreement that restricts any content from being shot during practice, games, and class times. Otherwise, if the sponsor demands an athlete to appear for a photoshoot or create content to be posted at a certain time, then the athlete will have to accommodate the request or risk being in breach.

Many influencer agreements are form documents that modify only certain terms like compensation and duration. Being that athletes’ time requirements and demands are different than other influencers, it is important that athletes read NIL agreements thoroughly and preferably have the NIL agreements reviewed by an attorney with specific knowledge and experience advising athletes on sponsorship agreements.


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