Brother Scott Eisenstadt (Florida Atlantic), the founder of NIL Empire LLC, is working to connect college athletes with brand deals and more in the new NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) era.
Brother Eisenstadt became obsessed with sports from an early age. “I’ve been loyal to Maryland basketball ever since (their championship run in 2002). It’s rewarding now because I’m working closely with players on the basketball team.”
After enrolling at Florida Atlantic University, he knew he wanted to join a fraternity. “One of the guys who recruited me to AEPi is still one of my best friends to this day. He lives here in Boca and we’re constantly hanging out.”
Brother Eisenstadt would go on to serve his AEPi chapter as rush chair, social chair and new member educator. “The biggest takeaway (from AEPi) would be how to work with people. There’s a lot of factors in communicating with people. Understanding that people may have competing interests was apparent early on; which wasn’t something I really had to deal with before college.” That became helpful later in his career while working with athletes.
Before NIL was legal for college athletes, athletes couldn’t profit off of their name whereas universities could sell jerseys with their names and numbers on it and make lots of money. Brother Eisenstadt became very interested in NIL when it became legal for college athletes. “It’s not too often where a new market or a new vertical gets started. When marijuana started becoming legal in Colorado and California, a lot of companies built around that industry and suddenly there were a string of new young millionaires. I looked at this as an opportunity to join a new rush and a new industry, as my ticket to hopefully start a successful business.”
He jumped at the opportunity to build relationships with athletes and help strategize ways to get them brand opportunities and negotiate those contracts. He’s currently working with 15 athletes, primarily in college football and men’s basketball.
Going to networking events, Brother Eisenstadt tries to build relationships with local businesses in the surrounding areas of the campuses that his athletes attend. “I was at an event not too long ago in Los Angeles because I have a player who is on the UCLA basketball team. I’ll go to events in Boca because I have players on the football and basketball teams at FAU. I’m trying to leverage local companies and cultivate relationships with them (the brands) and turn that into marketing opportunities.” Sometimes, he gets deals quickly, like for a social media post and others take many months to go through. “I try to go the extra mile and make sure that my guys have a lot of opportunities. If they like the opportunities, we move forward with them. If they don’t, we just walk away…no big deal.”
One of Brother Eisenstadt’s athletes right now is Nick Boyd, the point guard for Florida Atlantic University, which recently made it to the Final Four. “They had an incredible run and I got to see some of the March Madness action in-person which was incredible.” Boyd has deals with everything from a local cookie company to an apparel deal with Adidas for March Madness. “For instance, Mattress Mack was a great one. He’s a big sports backer, very famous. He made a huge bet on FAU to win the whole tournament when they got to the Final Four because they were the biggest underdog. He gave everyone on the team a lump sum of money.” There are tons of exciting public NIL deals going on that don’t even get publicity. The athletes love getting a gift card or a free meal – as well as the attention – but it can also be intimidating.
These deals can be intimidating and overwhelming for athletes with many things being thrown their way. “I have a conversation with all of my clients before I decide whether to sign them or not. We talk about rules and responsibilities.” He checks to make sure there is nothing questionable about the athlete and, if there is, he has a conversation with the athlete about the circumstances surrounding the mistake. “I have had to let go of clients in the past just because of the way they were carrying themselves, whether it’s being disrespectful or not doing the things that role models should be doing.” He makes sure that his athletes are respectful about the opportunities they have in front of them.
Brother Eisenstadt considers himself a manager rather than an agent because his work goes beyond just getting brand deals for athletes, many of whom are guys with extreme athletic ability but didn’t start off with means and need guidance or mentorship. These deals are huge for the athletes because their time has been consumed with sports throughout high school and now in college. They’ve never really had time for a job. Brother Eisenstadt not only helps them negotiate deals with companies but also helps with big life choices such as buying a first car. “I’ll – for free – go and take a look and make sure that they’re not getting a bad deal. I try to go the extra mile for them.” Always communicating, he’ll hop on the phone at any time to help them.
Another way Brother Eisenstadt is passionate about the athletic space is with his podcast, the Scotting Report. He created the podcast to talk about who the athletes are, not just their stats on the field. “It’s nice to have a platform to be able to share a little bit about who they are, what they’re like, and what motivates them. This helps humanize these athletes and they can share a little bit about their lives.” The podcast is also an opportunity for brand deals. The athlete might say that they enjoy anime and get a deal with Pokemon, or say they like bowling and get a deal with a bowling alley. “The more that you know about these guys the more opportunities there are for them.” He even runs this podcast with an audio engineer in New York City, Brother Jordan Schiff (Florida Atlantic, 2012), founder of Central Park Sound. Brother Eisenstadt was also the best man at Brother Schiff’s wedding.
Brother Eisenstadt’s goal is to represent someone who wins a national title. He’s planning to target athletes from elite college football and basketball teams. “I’d like to help a few of my players make it to the next level and reach their professional goals, not only being in the NFL or NBA, but also being able to understand how to market themselves.” He wants to help them bring in top tier endorsement deals while they’re at the next level. “I see the possibilities and it’s very exciting so I really hope that these guys stay healthy and they keep doing the right things. It’s really motivating to see how hard they work. I try to work even harder than them.”
Brother Eisenstadt’s advice to Brothers trying to get into the industry is to stay honest. “If you go to Google and type in, ‘former NFL player goes broke’, there’s all sorts of stuff that has happened over the last 10 years that’s really scary. It comes from dishonesty; so, if you’re gonna get into this game you’re playing with things that really affect people’s lives. If I give my clients bad advice, that could be the end of their career. I need to make sure that I’m doing the right thing and I’m being honest. I’m not taking any chances and these guys appreciate it. If someone else wanted to get into this industry, I would say make sure that you stay honest. I know it’s very generic but it resonates with me the most.”