The Endorsement Marketplace | Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show


Looking for a professional athlete to endorse your product or brand? Ever imagine a digital marketplace that could make access to athletes and management of such efforts easy and cost-effective?

Lincoln, Neb.-based opendorse recently introduced a solution that allows brands to research and access professional athletes to activate, manage and measure digital endorsement campaigns. After debuting its software last year, the company was approached by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), which needed a business solution for brand partners and players. This led to the Activate marketplace, introduced this past January at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show.

Activate, powered by opendorse, is NFL Players Inc.’s solution that provides local, regional and global brand owners with a platform to leverage the social media influence of NFL players, enhance brand awareness and grow revenue.

“The software platform is a result of our experience working with brands in the social media space at our other startup, Hurrdat, a social media agency,” says Blake Lawrence, CEO and co-founder of opendorse. “In 2011, we began to serve athlete clients, pairing our athletes and brands to create unique social media endorsement campaigns. The concept proved valuable, as we worked with over 100 brands and 100 athletes to prove the model, eventually spinning the service into a separate software company.”

opendorse builds relationships with prospective athletes by partnering with players associations and sports agencies. After consulting with hundreds of athletes, agents and brands, the company discovered difficulty in managing contract agreements, payments and analytics.

So opendorse built solutions for these three problems from scratch. “Digital contracts replace pen and paper agreements, online payment processing replaces checks and invoices, and our analytics platform replaces the need for hands-on metric tracking and reporting,” Lawrence says. “Negotiating an athlete endorsement used to take weeks or months. With opendorse, it only takes a few minutes.”

Currently, more than 300 athletes are on the opendorse roster. With the NFL Players Inc. partnership and the company’s organic growth, Lawrence says that number could reach more than 3,000 by the end of 2014.

For more information, please visit — J.L.