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Shelly Palmer - EA Sports Leverages NIL Deals for College Football

EA Sports is introducing "ambassador" contracts, incentivizing players to promote the game on their social media platforms.

Greetings from Terminal 4 at JFK. I'm heading to Austin to host a day-long private workshop called "Building Your First Synthetic Employee."

In the news: For its EA Sports College Football 25 video game, EA Sports will offer Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals worth $600 to more than 11,000 athletes. This initiative marks the largest NIL deal to date, covering all 85 scholarship players across 134 FBS programs. The logistics will be managed through Learfield’s Compass App, with OneTeam Partners facilitating discussions with the athletes.

This strategy emphasizes individual contracts rather than a collective licensing agreement. Clearly this is a big deal, but is $600 per athlete fair?

To sweeten the deal, EA Sports is introducing "ambassador" contracts, incentivizing players to promote the game on their social media platforms. This approach will not only benefit the athletes financially, but it will also leverage their influence to enhance the game's visibility and appeal.

EA stock is up 27.4% over the last year, so the company is doing a lot of things right. This new approach to athlete compensation (and promotion) feels like it's on the right track. We'll get the full details in May. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if generative AI platforms have any impact on the demand for games from big gaming.

As always your thoughts and comments are both welcome and encouraged. -s

P.S. On Wednesday, I'm moderating a panel at the inaugural HR Innovators event with Peter Navin (Chief People Officer, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee [USOPC]) and Bettina Deynes (Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Carnival Corporation). This is the first in a series of conferences and events focused on the evolving role of the CHRO. If you are investing in human capital and striving to optimize organizational design to drive growth, request your invitation here.

P.P.S. My Sunday blog asks the question, "Is Your Business Ready for AI?" Getting to the answer is more interesting than you think.



Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit