Monetizing NIL As A Professional Or College Athlete Ft. Weston Brach, Co-Founder Of FanZone
How can athletes monetize their name, image, and likeness? This situation can be challenging, especially at the college level. FanZone addresses this by allowing athletes to set up a subscription model for paid exclusive content for fans. Its many features, including discussion boards, exclusive live streams, and video chats, help athletes monetize their NIL at the college or professional level.
All About FanZone
Weston Brach is a Bostonian, former college tennis player, and Co-Founder of FanZone. After graduating college with a philosophy major and a focus in economics, he began investing in software as a service business.
During this time, Weston and Sonny Huang founded FanZone to help athletes monetize their name, likeness, and image. While Sonny was coding the FanZone app, the news that college athletes were finally allowed to monetize their name, likeness, and image was released, giving Weston and Sonny a unique opportunity to make this a full-time endeavor.
Weston shares, “What we’re doing is fully working on FanZone… The app is focused on allowing college athletes, teams, and pros to monetize content through subscriptions. What makes it unique is that we have a ton of ways to monetize with all the engagement features.”
FanZone is a social app that allows users to follow and support their favorite athletes and engage with fellow fans and athletes. Some monetizable engagement features include messaging, video chats, live streams, and custom experiences.
Marketing FanZone to Athletes
Weston shares that the marketing of the FanZone app to athletes has been primarily organic.
He explains, “We’re able to do outreach to their [athletes’] existing social media to try and get in touch with them. We’re doing a lot of Zoom calls in the context to get them interested in it. We also contact athletes via email [and] try to get them to spread the word with their teammates so we can get teams on it. It’s been a mix of that stuff really, so it’s really just been all organic.”
FanZone has also been covered in multiple publications, including The Boston Business Journal.
Regarding pro athletes, the FanZone team has been reaching out to their agents for the opportunity to discuss the app’s benefits for the athlete.
The Benefits to Athletes
FanZone’s most significant benefit to athletes is its efficient monetization abilities.
Weston elaborates, “The subscription gives you a monthly recurring revenue, as opposed to maybe a brand deal where you get paid once and then have to find another one. That method doesn’t scale as well. Our [method] provides that monthly recurring revenue, and on top of that, the engagement features allow you to upsell and monetize even more.”
Upsell features include fans direct messaging and video chatting with an athlete, creating an even stronger bond between the athlete and FanZone user.
He adds, “The fan base is pretty fun and interesting because our platform is really designed for two-way interaction, so this bleeds a little bit to the benefits on the fan side, but I think it connects with athletes is that athletes can put stuff on the discussion threads, like “Hey, what content do you want to see? What do you want to know?” and fans can type stuff in.”
The discussion threads give athletes the information needed to create the best-personalized content for fans while inspiring greater connection.
The Best Way to Monetize Content
Interested athletes are not charged to use FanZone. However, fans opt to pay a subscription fee to access the athlete’s content. Athletes can set the subscription price in their settings, giving them more control over their monetization opportunities.
When asked how athletes can best monetize their content on FanZone, Weston shares that it depends on the athlete’s content experience and goals.
He explains, “One would be the base level subscription where fans are paying on a monthly basis, and the athlete is writing as much exclusive content as they want to by posting on the app. Another way is if athletes want to, they can use it to sell miscellaneous things or monetize individual pieces of content.”
For example, an athlete could opt to leave the subscription cost at $0 but charge for specific content, like exclusive live streams.
Lastly, Weston shares, “The third way, which is not used quite as often, is you could use it exclusively for the engagement features if you want and not even post content. You could just do video chats with fans, paid live streams that you’re creating, live events, messaging.”
The custom experience feature also acts as a storefront, allowing athletes to sell a personalized video, message, shirt, sign, or anything else they come up with.
Overall, the ideal way to monetize is likely the subscription model because many fans can join in, creating a monthly income stream. However, athletes can utilize all the FanZone features together to optimize their income even more.
A couple of athletes on FanZone
FanZone vs. Instagram
So, what makes FanZone different from Instagram or other social media platforms with a subscription feature?
The most significant difference is that FanZone was designed specifically for athletes.
Weston shares, “We’ve got things like a lesson feature where if you’re posting and stuck, [we have] instructional content, we’ve got a specific video flow where you can attach segments of instructions to explain them. We’ve got the engagement again with the discussion threads… Traditionally, Instagram was built as more of a peer-to-peer social platform, and they’ve left a lot of the content free.”
Since Instagram’s content is predominantly free, it may be more difficult for athletes to monetize their content when users expect it for free. Moving followers over to FanZone gives you greater monetization and engagement features and allows you to provide an exclusive experience. You don’t need to mesh free and paid content together.
Lastly, Weston explains that FanZone is ideal for college teams because of its player and team roster feature, which sets up group subscription revenue and divides it amongst participating team members.
The FanZone team is excited about helping more college athletes and teams monetize their names, image, and likeness.
Weston notes, “We’ve got a fair amount of individual athletes on the platform monetizing, and it has been sporadic between pro and college athletes. They’ve both found it useful, but the college team side of things is an exciting development we’re focused on.”
Some of this excitement comes from many college athletes not having opportunities to collaborate with brands yet, but FanZone helps create these monetization opportunities.
He adds, “Even though NIL passed, a lot of [college] athletes won’t have much access to monetizing that [until] well over four years, but they might be on a great team, so by giving them the ability to get all of those fans monetized, it’ll help them a lot I think.”
For interested athletes, visit FanZone’s website or the app store and simply download the app, then make your profile. The process takes under ten minutes to start. After, FanZone will verify you as an official athlete, and you can begin monetizing.