The University of North Carolina is upgrading and extending its partnership with INFLCR with a five-year, department-wide agreement that also will make it the first Atlantic Coast Conference program to utilize the company’s new NIL Data Services suite.
The extension builds on successes seen from student-athletes on the INFLCR app and sets the stage for UNC to be prepared for a new era in college sports around Name, Image, & Likeness opportunities for student-athletes.
UNC student-athletes, coaches, staff and other brand ambassadors for the Tar Heels’ 28 NCAA varsity sports will gain access to thousands of photos, videos and graphics produced by UNC Athletics and national media-outlets and delivered through the INFLCR software and mobile app, to share on their personal social-media channels.
“We have been a partner with INFLCR for more than two years, and if NIL legislation changes we will fully support our student-athletes and assist them with their efforts,’’ said UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham.
“We have watched our student-athletes embrace INFLCR’s technology, and they appreciate having a platform to build their brand while amplifying the Carolina brand. We are pleased to be able to extend and expand this partnership.”
“North Carolina is and has been a national brand for a long time,” added Carolina head football coach Mack Brown.
“As the prominence of the football program continues to rise, it’s crucial that we’re providing resources to help our student-athletes take advantage of their personal brand. As new opportunities arise, we continue to guide our student-athletes in telling their story through the use of social media and this partnership with INFLCR should be a real asset for our program moving forward.”
INFLCR now serves more than 100 NCAA collegiate athletic programs, representing more than 700 teams and more than 23,000 athletes.
The new Data Services offering from INFLCR is the first of several products that the company will be rolling out as part of an innovative NIL Suite. Data Services combines custom reporting with digital education and content consulting for student-athletes, coaches, and the athletic program social media accounts.
“UNC has been a leader in empowering its athletes, and now is positioning itself as an early adopter in the era of NIL rights for student-athletes,” INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale said.
“It’s all about providing athletes with the best opportunity to maximize their potential. Bubba Cunningham and the administration at UNC have been extremely forward-thinking in their approach to empowering Tar Heel athletes with the content they need to build a personal brand while representing the UNC brand in the spotlight of competition in the ACC.”
UNC’s usage has been extraordinary:
— In 2019-20, UNC had 448 student-athletes active on the INFLCR app, and their usage was prolific.
— UNC Athletics uploaded more than 37,000 photos and videos to INFLCR, a process made seamless and efficient through the platform’s proprietary Artificial-Intelligence-powered tagging system and integrations with content-storage platforms such as Sidearm, Box, Dropbox, Photoshelter, Smugmug, Google Drive and others.
— Athletes logged almost 19,000 sessions in the INFLCR app, an average of 42 sessions per user, to access content.
— Men’s Basketball is a great example of this activity, where Tar Heels players downloaded/shared more than 4,500 photos and videos in their collective 1,178 app sessions.
“The sooner you can be working on your brand as an athlete, the more opportunities you can create for yourself in the long run,” said UNC Men’s Basketball Director of Operations Sean May, himself a former All-American player with the Tar Heels.
“The best way for us to help our student-athletes get the maximum value out of playing at UNC is to get to know them really well, and make sure their learning experiences fit their personality.”
“When it comes to social, we help our guys tell their stories both as athletes and as people, and we feel like that will help them leverage their brands, especially with new opportunities from Name, Image, & Likeness.”
UNC Women’s Basketball will be the first female program to uClize INFLCR’s NIL Data Services suite.
“As coaches and teachers, we have an educational mission to help our student-athletes understand how their digital presence has a value, and can provide opportunities for them both on and off the court,” said UNC head women’s basketball coach Courtney Banghart.
“For both current student-athletes and recruits, we want to encourage them to be interested in building a digital brand and positioning themselves the right way, and this partnership will help us apply that forward thinking in our program.”
How It Works
INFLCR’s platform helps clients like North Carolina send internal media and national photography content to personalized galleries for each of their athletes, coaches and other brand ambassadors.
Those athletes and brand ambassadors are able to access their content galleries through the INFLCR mobile app, and can then share the content to their personal social media accounts.
After the fact, North Carolina is able to measure the increased audience engagement coming from the much-larger collective audience of those athletes and brand ambassadors.
UNC plans to use this approach to bolster their online presence in a way that impacts event attendance, recruiting, fundraising, and other strategic goals.