Blue Delta Jeans has offered a name, image and likeness (NIL) deal to everyone on the Ole Miss Football roster. According to the Blue Delta press release, the players who accept the offer will receive a complementary pair of jeans at a retail price of $450 that they will be able to customize and promote through social media.
Blue Delta says each player will receive their own personal code to promote the Blue Delta product on social media. The local jean company, which is based out of Tupelo and has a store on the square in Oxford, will pay each player $100 each time their code is redeemed by a customer buying a pair of jeans.
The players who sign will be obligated to post a minimum of four social media posts between when they sign and Feb. 1, 2022. Blue Delta will provide the players a photo and copy to use in their posts.
In the newly established world that is NIL — in June the NCAA members voted to allow college athletes to benefit financially from name, likeness and image opportunities — an entire team getting offered a deal is a rather unique occurrence, being that most of the NIL compensation deals made so far have been limited to only the more fan-favorite student athletes at a school.
Tyler Sutliff, investor and operating partner with Blue Delta, says offering everyone on the roster a deal is something they believe will benefit the company from a brand standpoint.
“We can make jeans for the smallest player on the team like the kicker, or if the biggest right guard on the team wants a pair of skinny jeans we can make a pair for him as well,” said Sutliff. “We felt like the ability to outfit an entire football team regardless of their shape or size from a brand perspective highlights our ability to make a truly custom product.”
Signing the deal with Blue Delta would add the players to a list of many reputable clients of Blue Delta in the sports and entertainment world. The list includes Morgan Freeman, Ceedee Lamb, Ryan Reynolds, Mark Cuban, Tyler Herro, Eli Manning and many more.
“I thought it was a really good idea on Blue Delta’s part. It gives everyone the opportunity to rep the brand and cast their marketing out. All these players are looked at by their local communities and on social media platforms,” said sophomore quarterback Kinkead Dent. “I think it really extends their marketing.”
With Ole Miss being local to Blue Delta storefronts, choosing to make a deal with the Rebel football team wasn’t a difficult decision for Blue Delta.
“We’ve got good relationships with the coaching staff and good relationships with those in administration. A lot of the coaches wear our jeans already, like Kermit Davis and Lane Kiffin. So it was a natural progression to offer this,” said Sutliff.
This deal has given many Rebels who wouldn’t normally be considered for an NIL deal an opportunity to earn money because of their hard work.
“It was really cool to see everyone involved in it and get the opportunity,” said Dent. “Everyone was excited. Once the guy mentioned the $450 custom jeans, you could look around and see everyone’s mind blown.”
Ole Miss Executive Associate Athletics Director Jennifer Saxon helped to solidify the deal for Blue Delta and the team.
“I think any deal that allows a lot of our student athletes to participate is great,” said Saxon. “I think it’s a great opportunity for them. We hope to see additional opportunities for our student athletes, and I’m sure that we will.”
Sutliff says they hope that more companies will offer deals to the entire team after seeing them do it.
“I think people are still navigating what NIL means. What does it mean from a compliance standpoint? What does it mean for their business? So I hope that this deal and the publicity around it will encourage other business owners in Mississippi and outside Mississippi to participate,” Sutliff said.
With the Rebels off to a fiery start, Blue Delta couldn’t have picked a better time to offer such a deal.
“There’s a lot of eyes on Ole Miss right now, especially being undefeated heading into Alabama,” said Sutliff. “I think this is something we would have done regardless of record, it just makes the deal more exciting. The timing and record worked out in our favor.”
Sutliff says there are about 35 players who have signed the deal so far with many more in the works.