Having a female-specific shoe brand empowers college basketball players
A friend of Zarle’s put her in touch with Williams’ senior guard Maggie Meehan, who wanted a pair of Moolah Kicks. Zarle happened to have some the size of Meehan and gave them to him when Hamilton and Williams faced off earlier this season. The news spreads quickly.
“It’s this domino effect that seems to be happening,” Zarle said, “One person has it and other people want to have a pair, get on it.”
Not only is Zarle a Moolah Kicks athlete, but she’s also a corporate intern. She discovered Moolah Kicks through an ad campaign on Instagram and now manages the page, as well as all other social media, as Moolah’s social media coordinator. Shortly after reaching out to White for a networking call, Zarle took the popular instagram and ICT Tac accounts.
Two former players help organize the NIL transactions of Moolah Kicks. Faith Suggs, who played at Duke, coordinates college offers. Emma Bedeker, who played in Manhattan, works with high school athletes.
White, who is also CEO of Moolah Kicks, said they pursue athletes who embody the brand’s mission.
“Our NIL roster does everything we stand for, balancing purpose and performance,” White said. “Women’s basketball has so many voices. And each of them is an integral part of the DNA of women’s basketball.
Zarle wears his Moolah Kicks for the Continentals, who compete in the Division 3 New England Small College Athletic Conference. Most Division 2 and 3 programs don’t have restrictive sponsorship agreements, which makes any kind of level playing field for the shoes. At the Division 1 level, however, program- or department-level clothing agreements dictate what brand of footwear is worn on the field.
“We have the opportunity to really connect with the college athletes and work with them on the level where they feel like this sneaker not only works well on the D2 and D3 courts,” White said, “but for the D1 children, they can use their platform to promote the first women’s basketball brand.
“We know how many high school and college kids look up to female college basketball players. This is an opportunity to show women’s basketball as a whole that we have players behind this.
Doug Fillis, founder of New York-based education and consulting firm NIL Accelerate Sports Ventures, works with BC athletic departments and other schools on best practices for athletes and branding opportunities. Fillis said women’s basketball was “very strong in the NIL space.”
According to Opendorse, compensation for women’s basketball NIL contracts represents 26.2% of total NIL compensation, behind only football.
“Overall, NIL has been a phenomenal success for female athletes,” Fillis said. “There was a lot of speculation early on that this would be a men’s basketball or soccer ecosystem, but what we’ve found is that there are opportunities for everything. the world.”
BC main point guard Marnelle Garraud wears her school-issued New Balance shoes in games but has found a way to represent Moolah Kicks. A Lynn native and Noble & Greenough alum, Garraud befriended White in BC. In addition to Moolah Kicks, Garraud has NIL contracts with ISlide, York Athletics and ije. Some of the offers are for free equipment, others offer commission-based compensation based on purchases with a custom promo code.
“One of the most important things I learn on NIL is to use your platform to build your brand,” Garraud said. “It’s not just about playing. You are so valuable as an athlete, on social media, as a spokesperson. It’s learning to use your voice and stand up for the things you care about.
There is a real partnership between the brand and female university players.
“It’s becoming a known thing, especially here,” said Garraud, who recently noticed local high school players wearing shoes. “There’s more support and more people interested in it, and the trend is the same for women’s basketball.
“I see similarities with Moolah and the uptrend and also with the sport of women’s basketball.”
A literature major and NESCAC’s second-leading scorer with 19.7 points per game, Zarle had struggled to find a comfortable basketball shoe. Most were too “clumsy,” she said.
She finds her Moolah Kicks, which are sold online and at 140 Dicks Sporting Goods stores across the country, to be lighter and more durable than other shoes.
For Moolah Kicks, NIL offerings are a venture into brand awareness and women’s basketball empowerment. Zarle is a big part of that, turning an interest into a NIL deal, and now a real-world professional business.
“The awareness of Moolah throughout my talk is especially impactful,” Zarle said. “It’s a really special opportunity.”