An Opendorse Twitter NIL highlights visual.

While there’s been a lot of discussion around various name-image-and-likeness (NIL) pathways for college athletes to make money, one that hasn’t received much talk to date is a direct correlation to game broadcasts and highlights. The idea of conferences potentially throwing some of their media rights windfalls directly to athletes has been abstractly floated by a few, including Jim Harbaugh. But that idea hasn’t found a ton of traction yet, and carries potential pitfalls from a NCAA perspective for the ongoing “employee” discussion.

It’s not quite full media rights, but something tangible is now happening with highlights. On Thursday, Twitter and NIL marketplace Opendorse announced Thursday that they’ve established a pathway for student-athletes to directly monetize their own highlights on their personal Twitter accounts. This will roll out beginning with Pac-12 football players this fall, but a release on this notes that the partnership “aims to bring highlight monetization opportunities to student-athletes nationwide.”

Twitter and Opendorse initially announced a partnership for student-athletes to monetize video content last June, but that was focused on off-field content like training tips and fanbase shoutouts. This partnership has now expanded into personalized highlights (with an example of how that would work shown above), and that’s a big step. Here’s more from that release:

Opendorse and Twitter today announced an expanded partnership, built to help student-athletes monetize video content. For the first time ever, Twitter and Opendorse will now provide a pathway for student-athletes to earn NIL compensation by sharing personalized game highlights, enabled by Tempus Ex, to Twitter via their own handle.

Throughout the 2022-23 college football season, PAC-12 Football players will publish personalized highlight clips following games. Once published, pre-roll advertising secured through Twitter Amplify will run on the video and the student-athlete will be compensated, marking the first time student-athletes can monetize their own game highlights in this way.

“Twitter has always been and will continue to act as the megaphone for athletes to use their voice,” said David Herman, Senior Partner Manager at Twitter Sports. “Now they can leverage their most impactful moments on the field to earn meaningful NIL compensation. We’re thrilled to roll this program out with PAC-12 football and look forward to expanding it to sports and conferences across the country.”

“We’ve long imagined a world where athletes have instant access to the moments they create inside the lines of their sport,” said Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence. “NIL and Twitter Amplify tools take this concept to the next level. Now, athletes can share and monetize their moments in real time. This is the future of athlete-driven marketing.”

There’s quite a bit of interest out there in highlights, as seen through platforms like Buzzer looking to sell just highlights to consumers. There’s also existing demand for highlights on Twitter, with leagues and broadcasters all getting lots of views from highlights, and brands sometimes paying to promote those clips. And Twitter is a platform many of these athletes are already using, and they’re often using it to tweet about their games. So it makes some logical sense for Twitter to figure out a way to directly work with athletes on this. And this looks like a cool new opportunity for Pac-12 football players this fall.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.