STARTUP WACO AND PROGAGE TEAM UP TO BOOST MARKETABILITY OF BAYLOR STUDENT-ATHLETES
The partnership is designed to help students maximize opportunities under new NIL law
WACO, TEXAS - Student athletes start this school year with new power in determining their own value as marketers and businesspeople. Progage and Startup Waco today launch a new partnership to support Baylor athletes as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of lucrative Name-Image-Likeness (NIL) partnerships for the first time ever, to maximum earnings for the athlete and promotion for the business. The deal leverages Startup Waco’s GXG™ program, which offers entrepreneurial and marketing support to student-athletes, which will help them make the most of their newfound earning potential.
Lauren Harrison, a fifth-year Volleyball starter noted, “Progage is going to be so helpful in connecting the dots and identifying the best brands for us as athletes. I want to make sure the brands I partner with are authentic to who I am.”
In collaboration with Startup Waco’s GXG™ program, Progage will focus on identifying brands and partners, while the incubator focuses on elevating the marketability of Baylor student-athletes through business coaching and resources. Progage is unique in that it has always focused on athletes at all levels of collegiate or professional sports, and not just top-tier athletes and household names. This means Progage can get more deals for more athletes across the board.
The NIL law, enacted on July 1, 2021, gives college athletes the ability to profit off their own name, image, and/or likeness in ways not previously allowed in intercollegiate athletics. The opportunities for student athletes are vast, but unfortunately there are a lot of potential unethical partners looking to lure them into shady deals and unfair negotiations.
To identify the best opportunities for Baylor athletes, and position them for maximum success, Progage will facilitate both local business opportunities and national partners, and negotiate those deals. The goal is a steady pipeline of high quality offers to benefit both athletes and businesses.
“Our goal is to provide Baylor student-athletes with all the resources they need to be successful,” said Jon Passavant, CEO of Startup Waco. “Engaging Progage really opens doors on a national level. Progage has the experience and connections to put Baylor athletes in front of the types of companies coveted by student athletes across the country,” he added.
Known for bringing equity and opportunities to athletes at all levels of both collegiate and professional sports, Progage offers corporate connections, as well as marketing and personal branding expertise to these athletes as well.
“The opportunities for student athletes are almost unlimited, but unfortunately there are also a lot of pitfalls they need to be aware of,” said Kyle Fenner, co-founder of Progage. “While our mission is to continually funnel awesome opportunities from brands who want to invest and believe in them, we will also act as a protector to vet those opportunities that might not be in their best interest.”
Founded by Kyle Fenner and NFL tight end Kaden Smith in 2021, Dallas-based Progage is a creative marketing and influencer agency focused on creating meaningful partnerships between athletes and brands. Progage has facilitated hundreds of brand deals, allowing athletes in the Progage network to represent brands like Body Armor, Samsung, Coca Cola, and many more, resulting in millions of impressions across multiple campaigns.. Progage recognizes that, thanks to the undeniable success of social media marketing, brands don’t have to limit themselves to top-tier athletes. This unique business model creates opportunities for success for both athletes and businesses of all levels.
About Startup Waco
Startup Waco is a 501c3 organization formed via collaboration of cross-sector partnerships that aspire to lead Waco’s entrepreneurial support efforts and elevate Waco as a hub for business innovation. Designed with an inclusion mindset, Startup Waco champions entrepreneurs of all types by breaking down traditional barriers, collaborating with like-minded institutions and filling gaps. Out of a physical space in downtown Waco, Startup Waco hosts a coworking environment, runs meaningful programs designed to support local businesses and operates as a hub for the Waco business community.
Media Contact: Erin Steed
Progage came to life in early 2021, when NFL football player Kaden Smith and entrepreneur Kyle Fenner came together to create a sports marketing agency focused on helping brands win via creative storytelling and social media marketing.