Zach Soskin on Name, Image, Likeness: "It's building a brand. It's not going after every deal." | GMTM
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Zach Soskin on Name, Image, Likeness: "It's building a brand. It's not going after every deal."

ByScotty Jenkins

Published on Fri May 21 2021

|

3 min read

Zach Soskin on Name, Image, Likeness: "It's building a brand. It's not going after every deal."

"It was honestly just right place, right time," Zach Soskin says, recalling the chain of events that brought him to the forefront of the NIL conversation.

Soskin, who has became a constant voice talking on Name, Image, and Likeness issues, points to his own career path as an example of how athletes should view their path to more lucrative opportunities.

"I got really lucky with timing throughout my whole career," Soskin recalls in a virtual meeting in May. "I was at Oregon when they were the hottest thing. I went into grassroots football with Adidas just as this NIL thing got going."

All of these experiences might seem like a natural progression for a bright 20-something kid with a Sports Business degree, but a lot of it was saying no to opportunities that looked a lot better than what he pursued.

Soskin earned his degree from Oregon, where most of his professors were stars in the sports industry, coming from companies like Nike, headquartered outside of Eugene.

While he could've quickly found a job at the company that has poured over $1 billion into his alma mater, Soskin instead traded the swoosh for three stripes. He took a job Brand Marketing job at Adidas in 2014.

"When I took the job at Adidas coming from Oregon, all the Nike people around me said, 'Why would you go work there?' But, six months later, I was working with Boost and Kanye West. Then people in the sports world started asking me how to get a job at Adidas."

But Soskin's risky A lesson he says is important to remember for young college athletes that might start seeing paychecks later this summer.


Make Sure The People You Work With Understand You

"And so for me, you know, building those relationships, seeing the influence athletes had and then seeing the difference between marketing and sales."

"A lot of the people who think they are in the athlete marketing business... they're really in the sales business."

It is like sales.

"Hey, I represent player X, will you do a deal with them? And if they say, no, you just move on to the next one."

"I saw a void and I think there's, you know, people are now starting to take this approach where it's not just sales, it's brand marketing, right.

"It's building a brand. It's not going after every deal. It's about approaching these players and actually having a brand positioning statement and make doing deals that ladder up into a certain identity."

The amount of money kids can make from "corny" sponsorships and shallow collaborations isn't lost on Soskin. New companies looking for young spokespeople with a lot of followers are popping up everyday.

But, young athletes who see $ signs early in their sports career should be thinking about the identity, influence, and reputation they want to have in 5 or 10 years.

"Even though it might be a big check, you have to say no to deals that could negatively affect your personal brand in the long run."

Soskin, who has became a constant voice talking on Name, Image, and Likeness issues, points to his own career path as an example of how athletes should view their path to more lucrative opportunities.

"I got really lucky with timing throughout my whole career," Soskin recalls in a virtual meeting in May. "I was at Oregon when they were the hottest thing. I went into grassroots football with Adidas just as this NIL thing got going."

All of these experiences might seem like a natural progression for a bright 20-something kid with a Sports Business degree, but a lot of it was saying no to opportunities that looked a lot better than what he pursued.

In essence, Soskin identifying and pursuing his passions and had faith that those dream opportunities would come naturally.

"When I took the job at Adidas coming from Oregon, all the Nike people around me said, 'Why would you go work there?' But, six months later, I was working with Boost and Kanye West and those same people were asking me how to get a job at Adidas."

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