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EMP announces new strategic partnership with Arena NIL

Executive Management Partners is pleased to announce our new strategic partnership with Columbus-based Arena NIL. EMP offers comprehensive consultation and search services designed to help navigate and solve your challenges, with focus on the organization’s mission and priorities. Arena NIL offers colleges and universities a pathway to having student-athlete involvement in NIL meet the compliance needs of national governing bodies and conferences. Complying with State laws that may differ slightly across state borders is also a component of EMP’s work with Arena NIL. As an influential Athletic Director running a competitive program, you know that the NCAA rule change on student-athletes being compensated for the use of their name, image and likeness has created great uncertainty, but also opportunity. The biggest consequence for Athletic Directors has been that the already competitive recruitment game has become intense. Now and in the years ahead, in order for schools to succeed they need to be “NIL friendly” and demonstrate to recruits and their families that they support the NIL ambitions of their student-athletes. Even if you are a small school in a small media market and your athletes are not going to be signing big deals, there’s a lot you can be doing, from providing social media training and support, to making it easy for student-athletes to get approval for the use of your school’s trademarks in NIL deals, to reaching out to local businesses, to having a branded NIL program that you promote. Through our partnership with Arena NIL, we can help you build and promote an NIL program that is the best in your conference. We do this in three ways for you to consider: 1) national research, 2) strategic planning, and 3) strategic communications and marketing. Research Arena NIL provides media relations, strategic planning and digital marketing services in support of universities’ NIL communications initiatives. In essence, they can help you become “NIL friendly” and keep you competitive in recruiting and retaining student-athletes. Arena NIL’s founders have decades of combined experience in intercollegiate athletics, including a former Vice President for Communications at Ohio State. Arena NIL has invested in an ongoing national research program into what schools are doing and experiencing with NIL. They have unique insight and experience that can help you succeed in this space. If you are interested, we can arrange a 30-minute Zoom where they can share insights from their national research that you can use in your program. Arena has filed research requests at nearly 200 schools in 40 states, including all of the Power 5, and they’ve interviewed leaders at schools from Ohio State to Washington State and everywhere in between. What they’ve found is fascinating and is benefiting our clients. The research shows that schools are all over the board in how they are approaching NIL. We’re also seeing that there is great potential at smaller schools, among lower-profile sports and for women athletes in particular. There is a looming recruiting arms race to build and promote a top-level NIL program to compete for talent. Strategic Planning As you continue to put together your long-term NIL strategic plans, consider engaging us in partnership with Arena NIL to conduct a rigorous whiteboard session. They will facilitate discussion with your executive team to identify strategic objectives, leverageable assets and salient messaging narratives. They will deliver a scalable long-term plan based on their research and your specific objectives and resources. Arena’s workshops are intended to provide a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of organizational narratives and strategic planning processes. These sessions also assist in the development of an overarching strategic narrative and key message points that concisely communicate an organization’s strategic goals. Strategic Communications and Marketing Once you have your vision and your plan in place for being NIL friendly, you also need a robust, sustained strategic communications and marketing campaign to demonstrate that you are open for business and share your successes supporting your student-athletes in building strong, professional personal brands that will serve them well into their careers and lives after intercollegiate athletics. Arena NIL is helping schools like yours design and execute these campaigns. I know what it’s like running a competitive program, and I know that the dawning NIL era is daunting and exhilarating. We’d love to help you succeed. Please let me know if we can help. Sincerely, Roger Ingles CEO/Senior Partner, EMP Former AD, Capital University Former AD, Ohio Wesleyan University

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