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The Lobby Observer

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Curran Media Uses Winning Formula in NIL Arena Without Big-Name Athletes

Brothers+Pat+%28left%29+and+Tim+Curran+run+Curran+Media%2C+which+has+been+successful+working+with+college+athletes+who+have+large+social+media+followings.+%28Courtesy+of+Curran+Media%29
Brothers Pat (left) and Tim Curran run Curran Media, which has been successful working with college athletes who have large social media followings. (Courtesy of Curran Media)

A second-string walk-on defensive lineman at Elon University is probably the last person you’d expect to be making hundreds of thousands of dollars with almost 2 million followers on TikTok, working with brands such as Spotify, Netflix, and Gatorade. Yet, thanks to Curran Media and the new Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rules, that is the reality for Jon Seaton.

Seaton is very active on social media, posting 3-5 times per week on TikTok and Instagram, where his content is similar. His posts mainly consist of what it’s like being a Division 1 football player and light-hearted, relatable sports content for athletes. He incorporates this content into the brand deals he shares on social media. 

Curran Media says the goal with a brand deal is to “make it an authentic fit and not feel like an ad.”

Curran Media is an athlete marketing company based in Los Angeles dedicated to fulfilling athletes’ potential on and off the field. Its founders are brothers Tim and Pat Curran, who played college football together at Bowling Green.

Tim joined the sports marketing industry, working for brands at first, helping them find athletes and develop campaigns. About five years ago, while working with these brands, Tim noticed a “big hole” in how athletes utilized these business opportunities. 

“That was when we started repping athletes, specifically around social media marketing, branding, and strategy,” Tim said.

Curran Media originally represented MMA athletes, but the company changed directions when college athletes were allowed to monetize themselves through NIL deals in 2020. 

Curran Media started focusing on representing these college athletes and honed in on the social media aspect of marketing. Tim said the agency used “the same exact formula [with MMA athletes] but just with college athletes.”

Tim’s reasoning for switching to college athletes is similar to why he moved to the athletes’ side in the first place.

“There was no one who had any idea what’s going on, and we wanted to first-hand teach [athletes] exactly what they should and could be doing.”

The space was also fresh, so there was a lack of knowledge on how to deal with these athletes. Tim shared that “no one had any idea what they were doing,” so he wanted to step in with Curran Media to guide these athletes.

The athletes the agency looks for aren’t just top Division 1 athletes. They look for particular athletes to represent: Tim says he searches for “athletes who are good creators first,” then “athletes who have the potential to be good creators.” 

Tim stated, “I would take a D2 guy who’s got 100,000 followers and posts unique stuff over that D1 person who doesn’t post and is the starting quarterback.”

Since Curran Media is so focused on social media, it prefers athletes with larger followings because it is easier for them to get brand deals.

With NIL, becoming a professional is not the only option for athletes to profit off their abilities. Curran Media promotes these athletes effectively using social media and will continue to do so as they add to their ever-growing roster of athletes. So now, second-string walk-on defensive linemen at low-profile schools can make professional money.

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About the Contributor
Simon Bleier '24, Co-Editor in Chief
Simon Bleier ‘24, a Co-Editor in Chief, is a senior who has been writing for The Lobby Observer for the past three years. Simon's favorite part about journalism is sharing powerful stories and messages with others. Simon loves writing about all things sports and when he is not writing about sports, he plays or watches them. He plays soccer and basketball for WHS and is always open to a good competition. In addition to sports, Simon enjoys spending quality time outside with his family, friends, and dog.

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    Michael ChapmanSep 12, 2023 at 2:15 pm

    Westborough High graduate Corey Schneider ’08 is leading a NIL effort for the University of Massachusetts. google midnight ride collective

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