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August 30, 2022

NBC Sports Athlete Direct and Reading Partners launch college student-athlete NIL campaign to promote early literacy

Fifty Student-Athletes Will Participate in NIL Campaign by Highlighting their Summer Reading List on Social Media to Drive Community Engagement and Promote Literacy

STAMFORD, Conn. / OAKLAND, Calif. – August 30, 2022 — NBC Sports Athlete Direct, NBC Sports’ name, image, and likeness (NIL) platform, and Reading Partners, a national early literacy nonprofit that recruits volunteer tutors to work one-on-one with thousands of students in under-resourced communities, are partnering on an NIL campaign to promote early literacy, it was announced today.

NBC Sports Athlete Direct is a platform which connects college student-athletes and advertisers through a trusted marketplace, enabling student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness. Student-athletes participating in the Reading Partners campaign will post messages on their Instagram feed encouraging reading and highlighting the work Reading Partners does with elementary students in communities across the country.

Student-athletes participating in the campaign, which is now live, will spotlight a book from their own summer reading list in a post on their Instagram feed, tagging the book directly in their post. Anyone viewing the student-athlete’s Instagram feed will be able to purchase the book by clicking on a link in the student-athlete’s Instagram bio. Book orders will be fulfilled by, which sources from a network of local, independent bookstores. A portion of the proceeds from all book sales will go to Reading Partners.

NBC Sports Athlete Direct will also promote the opportunity for individuals to become a volunteer tutor with Reading Partners. For over 20 years, Reading Partners has helped empower students across the country to succeed in reading and beyond by engaging community volunteers to provide effective one-on-one literacy tutoring. Reading Partners offers in-person tutoring and launched an online tutoring program called Reading Partners Connects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2021-22 school year, Reading Partners delivered more than 138,000 individualized literacy tutoring sessions and since its founding in 1999, Reading Partners has provided over 2.5 million tutoring sessions to tens of thousands of students experiencing economic challenges.

“NBC Sports Athlete Direct is an innovator in the way they are using NIL to create both financial opportunities for student-athletes as well as awareness-building opportunities for nonprofits that are doing crucial work in communities across the country,” said Adeola Whitney, CEO of Reading Partners. “There are few foundational issues more important to our long-term individual and societal success than early literacy, so we are honored to partner with NBC Sports Athlete Direct on this initiative.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with Reading Partners on this important initiative to promote early literacy and volunteerism,” said Damon Phillips, SVP, Strategic Initiatives of NBC Sports. “This NIL campaign is an opportunity for college student-athletes to learn the importance of community service and how to use their voice and platform for causes that align with their personal value system.”

Community involvement will allow Reading Partners to maximize student support

Reading Partners’ past success has been fueled by the generous participation of thousands of community volunteers and donors. In the 2022-23 school year, Reading Partners will provide direct literacy tutoring and support to approximately 9,000 students nationwide across its various learning environments.

To become a volunteer with Reading Partners, please visit and to financially support Reading Partners’ mission centered on educational equity and opportunity for all students, please visit


About Reading Partners

For over 20 years, Reading Partners has helped empower students to succeed in school and beyond by engaging community volunteers to provide proven, one-on-one literacy tutoring. Since its founding, the national nonprofit organization has mobilized over 75,000 community volunteers to provide more than 2.5 million individualized literacy tutoring sessions to more than 70,000 elementary school students in nearly 470 under-resourced schools across ten states and the District of Columbia. Visit to learn more about our program impact and our Reading Partners Connects online program innovation, or connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Reading Partners is a proud AmeriCorps service partner and has been endorsed by The New York Times.

About NBC Sports Athlete Direct

‘NBC Sports Athlete Direct,’ a platform linking college student-athletes and advertisers through a trusted marketplace, launched in April 2022 and enables student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness. Student-athletes from participating universities who opt-in to NBC Sports Athlete Direct are presented with name, image, and likeness (NIL) opportunities from advertisers that include monetizing their social media followings in various ways. Through NBC Sports Athlete Direct, NBC Sports collaborates with participating universities to create content for student-athletes focused on NIL best practices. In addition, NBC Sports and CNBC, the world leader in business and financial news, provide personal finance resources to assist student-athletes.

Jake Gellerman, NBC Sports

203-356-2795 |

Michael Todd, Reading Partners

(415) 225-9139 |

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