SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — Fran Brown was named head coach of the Syracuse football program just two weeks ago. Since then, he has made limited media appearances but each has made the Syracuse community excited for the future. After a brief interview with Matt Park, play-by-play announcer and voice of the Orange, a local NIL initiative called Orange United saw subscribers increase. After the official press conference was released, even more ran to the Orange United website.
Brown was calm and collected in both his interviews. Brent Axe, Syracuse.com columnist and podcaster, is not surprised that SU fans are moved by his appearances.
“He’s just genuine, he’s authentic, he’s real,” said Axe. “I can see why when you get in a room with him, it’s hard to say no.”
The world of NIL is still young. Just over two years. It is a common topic of confusion, but the Orange United board has a goal to make their initiative simple and specifically for fans.
“It’s an athlete to be able to have monetization opportunities off of their name, image, and likeness. The collective is structured for fans. Every fan can support on different levels that fit their budgets,” said Dave Meluni, a board member of Orange United.
Those fans and their budgets have five options. It ranges from about $11 dollars to about $250 dollars.
Every subscription level received new donors and subscribers after Fran Brown’s media appearances.
“In that 72 hour window after Fran was put out there publicly, they picked up 209 new subscriptions, and over 100 individual donations. Now, 96 of those 100, were between $10 dollars and $1,000 dollars. So that is just a fan saying here is what I can give, here you go,” said Axe.
Orange United is new as of this fall and the Brown hiring was their first true test of how the SU community would respond to such news.
“From this standpoint, the launchpad piece for Orange United happened to just be a change in the coaching staff for football.” said Meluni.
SU has no affiliation to Orange United and there is no SU leadership say within Orange United’s leadership, but it is the university’s preferred NIL collective and a corporate sponsor of the university. It has advertisements on ACCNX broadcasts and a space inside the JMA Wireless Dome during games. What it’s done so far is seemingly working due to the effort to educate the fans on what it really is.
“The messaging is important. The messaging of this is what it is. What? You can pay athletes now? Yeah! Actually, we can. Here’s how,” said Axe.
Orange United is hopeful that this excitement turns into consistent efforts to support the future of SU athletics and their student-athletes, not just an adrenaline response to the convincing words of Brown.
Meluni says they have a lot of growth to do as well.
“Once this is established going into next fall, I think that’s where you’re going to see folks really jump on board.”