In the evolving world of collegiate sports and its intertwining relationship with business, NIL collective, the Tennessee Volunteer Club has found a unique way to merge the two: vodka. With the recent unveiling of the Volunteer Club Vodka, fans of the Tennessee Volunteers can now toast to their team’s success while simultaneously supporting the athletes and their endeavors.
A Splash of Tradition Meets Contemporary Marketing
Produced in collaboration with Foundry Distilling Company from Iowa, the Volunteer Club Vodka has made its mark on retail shelves across Tennessee. Priced at $24.99 a bottle, a quarter of each sale funnels directly into the collective, nurturing Tennessee’s budding athletic talents.
As Sheridan Gannon, the club’s marketing maestro, eloquently put it, each sip taken is a step towards “celebrating the Tennessee legacy” and ensuring the future triumphs of the state’s athletic stars.
Understanding NIL Collectives
NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) collectives have recently emerged as powerful avenues for college athletes to monetize their personal brands. These collectives serve as a bridge between athletes and businesses, enabling endorsements and other lucrative opportunities that were previously out of reach for college sportspeople.
By collaborating with brands and businesses, NIL collectives generate revenue which is then distributed among its member athletes.
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The bottle’s design itself serves as an ambassador for the Volunteer Club’s mission. Featuring a concise description of the club’s objectives and a QR code, it provides fans with a gateway to delve deeper into the collective’s efforts to empower college athletes through NIL opportunities.
While Volunteer Club Vodka won’t make an appearance inside Neyland Stadium or at official Tennessee events, its potential as a college football tailgating essential seems promising.
Broadening the Landscape
The approach of leveraging alcoholic beverages, especially beer, as a revenue stream has gained momentum among NIL collectives. With vodka generally priced higher than beer, the Volunteer Club’s decision could lead to more substantial profits, estimated at around $7 per bottle.
However, it’s worth noting that Tennessee athletes cannot endorse products related to gambling, tobacco, or alcohol. Hence, while they won’t be the faces promoting Volunteer Club Vodka, they’ll certainly benefit from its sales.
Beyond Tennessee, other colleges and their respective NIL collectives have recognized the potential of the alcoholic beverage market. From Boise State’s Horseshoe Golden Ale to Iowa State’s collaboration for a branded vodka, it appears to be an emerging trend in college sports.
The profits from these ventures, while varying, have shown promising returns for their respective collectives and, by extension, their athletes.
Rising to Prominence
Since its launch in March 2022, the Volunteer Club has experienced impressive growth, recently surpassing 3,000 members. Their strategies have been both innovative and impactful. Through a variety of membership packages and community engagement initiatives, they’ve solidified their place among the top NIL collectives, notably securing a partnership with Tennessee Athletics in June.
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