Penn State athletics backers joined forces on a new name, image, and likeness (NIL) model in June with the launch of Happy Valley United.
An independent corporation forged by the merger of previous NIL collectives Success With Honor and Lions Legacy Club, Happy Valley United will be headed by a CEO and has designated staffs for football, men’s and women’s basketball, and Olympic sports. Each of those respective staffs includes its own leader, advisory board, fundraising officers, and employees in charge of student engagements and contracting. All three staffs receive the services of Happy Valley United’s content creators, marketing professionals, and an annual giving officer.
Fans and alumni can become members of the collective through a tiered donation model, ranging from $25 to $250 per month or $250 to $2,500 per year. In return, members receive quarterly newsletters and digital content at the base levels up to priority event access and meet-and-greet autograph sessions with student-athletes at the higher levels. Donors or businesses may allocate their tax-deductible contributions to any of the university’s 31 sports.
Blueprint Sports, a platform that had previously partnered with Lions Legacy Club and works with similar collectives at more than a dozen other schools, supports Happy Valley United with donor management services, automated compliance reporting and contract onboarding, and marketing and community- building. Blueprint Sports co-founder Rob Sine ’06 Lib says having a centralized collective will help Penn State alleviate some of the confusion many still have regarding NIL. “This is not about paying athletes,” he says. “It’s about helping them find these opportunities and marrying all this together. It’s about simplifying it, so when people think about name, image, and likeness, it’s less about the aura of it and more about the opportunities and unlimited creativity that’s out there.”