Outback Steakhouse expands NIL partnerships for latest campaign

Outback Steakhouse expands NIL partnerships for latest campaign

Dive Brief: 

  • Outback Steakhouse has added to its list of collegiate football player partnerships for its latest campaign, “Steak It To The House,” per details shared with Marketing Dive. 
  • Those signed to Outback’s TeamMates roster will drop promotions throughout the season for fans to win merchandise, including NFTs exchangeable for prizes like discounts and signed memorabilia. Some participating players will also create TikTok content.
  • In a purpose-driven move, four TeamMates players will donate catered meals during the holiday season to nonprofit organizations including Fighting Pretty and Boys and Girls Clubs in select cities. The campaign is representative of a growing interest by brands to partner with collegiate athletes following an NCAA ruling last year. 

Dive Insight: 

Outback Steakhouse’s move to center its latest campaign around its TeamMates program reflects how some brands are expanding partnerships with collegiate athletes a year after the NCAA’s ruling last July to allow them to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL). Such partnerships, like those through Outback’s TeamMates program, present an opportunity for brands to connect and form lasting relationships with players.

Timed to the campaign, Outback Steakhouse also announced that it would be signing 10 additional college football players to its roster from schools across the country. Counting the new athletes, Outback has now partnered with over 80 athletes across 38 schools and 15 different NCAA sports over the last year. The TeamMates program appears to be a success for the restaurant, boasting over 450 applications from student athletes over the past 12 months. In the months to come, the chain plans to sign 50 additional athletes.

The “Steak It To The House” campaign’s key offering includes promotions that will be shared throughout the season. Beginning Oct. 27, fans can win limited-edition NFTs, including those featuring University of Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen and University of Georgia running back Kendall Milton, that can be exchanged for signed merchandise or a $100 credit toward a catering purchase. 

To promote the campaign, Outback Steakhouse recruited Elon University defensive lineman Jon Seaton and University of Michigan wide receiver and punt returner A.J. Henning, who was part of the inaugural TeamMates program last year, to create themed TikTok content. Seaton, who has nearly two million followers on the social media platform, is known for his “Big Guy” content, where he jokingly talks about the biggest things he’s ever done, like being a Division 1 athlete and having never scored — content that is reflective of the “Outback spirit,” per the release.

A primary focus of the campaign is outreach efforts, reflecting values the TeamMates program was founded on. Players Allen, Milton, Henning and Seaton for the holiday season will donate catered meals to nonprofits Fighting Pretty and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Athens, and Fond du Lac.

Others have recently jumped on the opportunity to partner with collegiate athletes. In September, Nissan brought back its long-running “Heisman House” campaign that recruits past winners of the Heisman Trophy to film comedic commercials in a titular mansion. For the first time, the tie-up featured a current college player, Bryce Young, who went on to star in other promotional efforts by the brand. Earlier this month, Reese’s playfully signed a dozen collegiate football players with the last name Reese as part of a program tied to the brand’s fictional university.

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