Baylor is one of the few Power 5 markets that went through Year 1 of NIL without a dedicated collective.
The Bears now have GXG, which serves as a non-profit organization that partners with donors to provide NIL options to Baylor athletes. Run as a wing of StartUp Waco, since its launch this summer, the platform established a local marketplace and accepts donations, evolving into an NIL collective.
Now it is introducing GXG Elite, which will serve as an NIL membership program for Baylor fans and donors. The program will offer a range of exclusive benefits, including access to special events, behind-the-scenes content and unique merchandise and memorabilia. Plans are in place for the program to fully launch later this year.
The hope behind GXG Elite is to provide an unprecedented level of interaction between fans and athletes. Members of the program will be able to connect with athletes through live question-and-answer sessions and in-person meetups.
“At GXG, we believe that the NIL space represents a huge opportunity to create value for fans and athletes alike,” GXG COO Jacob Kehoe wrote in a letter to the advisory board provided to On3. “With the GXG Elite, we are taking our commitment to this space to the next level, offering fans and athletes an experience that is truly one-of-a-kind.”
When GXG launched, the long-term goal was to strike team-wide NIL deals with each program at Baylor. That’s still the plan with the announcement of GXG Elite. All funds raised are tax-deductible because of the organization’s 501(c)(3) status.
GXG now dubs itself an “NIL initiative for Baylor student-athletes.” The collective has partnered with a number of Waco businesses, bringing them into the GXG marketplace.
“We understand that the NIL space is still in its infancy, and there are many challenges to overcome,” Kehoe wrote in the letter. “But we are confident that with the right approach and the right team, we can build something truly special that benefits everyone involved.”
NIL-driven relationship between Baylor, GXG
Tuesday’s announcement was made in partnership with Baylor athletics. Back in October, GXG struck a sponsorship deal through LEARFIELD, which allowed the organization to have a digital presence on BaylorBears.com, social media messaging and e-mail marketing.
The relationship between the two entities evolved in January, when the athletic department announced the formation of an NIL advisory council. The group was charged with managing Baylor’s partnership with StartUp Waco CEO Jon Passavant and former Baylor quarterback Cody Carlson to manage funds directed to GXG.
Mark McCollum serves as the chair. Kevin Cherry, Jeremy Fudge, Cary Gray, Larry Heard and Dan Hord also sit on the council. All are business professionals and Baylor graduates. Because of the NCAA’s NIL guidance in October, Baylor is able to endorse and promote GXG.