3 Keys to a Successful NIL Merch Drop: Angel Reese Edition

3 Keys to a Successful NIL Merch Drop: Angel Reese Edition

LSU basketball star and 2023 National Champion Angel Reese is the face of college basketball.

Not just women’s basketball.

All of college basketball.

So when Angel debuted her LSU NIL jersey on the NIL Store - the first jersey of its kind on the market - sales went through the roof. 

It was the perfect combination of capitalizing on a moment, leveraging social media and being genuine to her brand. And now, an entire NIL Store specifically for LSU athletes is on the way!

Let’s dive into it further.

The Power of a Moment

To be honest, it’s not really fair to label Angel Reese as having a moment, which is defined as a very brief period of time.

Over the last year at LSU, Angel built a brand with true staying power.

Angel’s staying power hit an all-time high when her LSU Tigers won the National Championship and she unapologetically let Iowa’s Caitlin Clark know which finger the ring was going on.

Angel has made the most of her moment, serving food at Raising Cane’s and appearing on the I Am Athlete podcast, among other things. She was even parodied by Saturday Night Live!

So when she dropped her LSU NIL jersey - the first of it's kind on the market - it wasn’t a surprise that it worked.

She has built incredible brand loyalty which has paid dividends. People are proud to support Angel and feel connected to her.

This isn’t just true for a mega superstar like Angel Reese. When Purdue wrestler Matt Ramos shocked the world by pinning Iowa’s Spencer Lee, his “Shock the World” merch went crazy!

Leveraging Social Media

Angel has done an incredible job building her brand across almost every social platform: TikTok (1.7 million followers), Instagram (1.6 million) and Twitter (341.4K).

It's simple: the more places you are, the more visible you are. And Angel fully understands that.

So when she dropped her jersey, she had multiple different avenues to reach her followers.

In this particular instance, Twitter was most successful. It generated 3x more sales than other platforms.

When she tweeted out the link to her NIL jersey, impressions were through the roof. To date, her tweet has received $3.1 million views, 28.4K likes, 3,810 retweets and 1,371 replies.

Those are staggering numbers.

We aren’t saying that Twitter is a better platform for merch sales than others. Far from it. In fact, Meta has a pretty amazing shopping feature that allows the consumer to never leave the app.

What we are saying is that athletes should leverage every social platform they can to increase sales.


Be Genuine To Your Brand.

Angel Reese is unapologetically herself. 

She says it over and over again.

She’s Baltimore born and bred and proud of it. And she’s empowering other young women who like her to express themselves freely.

It’s a great lesson for athletes on social media.

When you present your true and genuine self, great things can happen.

Sure, good things can happen if you play a character, as well. But people can see through disingenuous behavior. And at the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather be unapologetically yourself? 

So embrace your identity and lean fully into it like Angel does. Good things will come.


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