January 4, 2024

Case Study - Mac & Clay Leveraging the Popularity and Reach of College Athletes via NIL

Case Study - Mac & Clay Leveraging the Popularity and Reach of College Athletes via NIL


PowerNIL has built a relationship as a trusted advisor and resource for Mac & Clay, a custom men’s clothier and stylist based in Lexington Kentucky. We collaborated with Mac & Clay to develop and execute a name, image & likeness (“NIL”) brand promotion strategy focusing on the use of collegiate student-athletes to increase brand awareness and store traffic through social media. This Case Study focuses on a NIL transaction involving Jager Burton, a football player for the University of Kentucky (“UK”). PowerNIL initiated contact and discussions with Jager and his representatives, negotiated the terms of the NIL transaction, prepared the promotional contract, and then facilitated execution and compliance with NCAA and UK guidelines. We are currently working on additional NIL campaigns with Mac & Clay.


INTRODUCING POWERNIL – PowerNIL is an agency focused on facilitating NIL transactions between collegiate student-athletes and brands, and is a subject matter expert in the NIL industry. PowerNIL opened its doors officially in March 2023, although its first taste of NIL was during its infancy in the summer of 2021 when putting a deal together on behalf of an auto dealership client. PowerNIL was founded by Ohio attorney Ken Feinberg, and the team includes Rick Feinberg - EVP sales, Bogdan Salamakha - CTO, John Ferritto – Athlete Rep, Southern USA, Mike Skelly – Athlete Rep, Northern USA, and Tim Opsitnick as Compliance advisor. More information can be found at www.powernil.com. Our philosophy is simple; we are intent on building enduring relationships and re-enforcing our NIL credibility and integrity with each email, call, meeting, and deal. NIL may be our lane, but people are our focus!

INTRODUCING MAC & CLAY – Mac & Clay is an established men’s clothier and stylist in Lexington, Kentucky and known for its bespoke suits. Additionally, Mac & Clay carries unique lines in shoes, golf, activewear, outerwear, casual wear, and sport coats. Mac & Clay fashions can frequently be appreciated as popular at the Kentucky Derby and Keeneland horse races in Kentucky.


Ken Feinberg was introduced to Matt Guarnieri, owner of Mac & Clay, though a mutual acquaintance. The initial discussions centered on identifying the goals for Mac & Clay, which included increased brand awareness and foot traffic in the store, leading to more sales. We then explained in detail what “NIL” is and is not, budgeting, a 1000’ walk through of a transaction, next steps, and contract performance.

Matt expressed an interest in further evaluating a cost-effective social media campaign to quickly reach atarget audience. Matt envisioned offering an athlete a custom-made ensemble, to include a 2-piece suit, shirt, and necessary accessories, in exchange for brand promotion. He further wanted to use photo/video of the initial fitting, final fitting, and a professional photo shoot at a public event for the campaign, all paid for by Mac & Clay.

Because Mac & Clay’s in-store business is in the Lexington/Louisville, KY area, we recommend a focus on identifying athletes with ties to Lexington or Louisville, hoping to capitalize on friends, family, and local connections. The obvious starting point was UK, with its main campus in Lexington, and because of its size, high level competition in the NCAA SEC conference, and impact of the university in the community. The focus then shifted to UK sports, athletes, and social following. We further narrowed the focus to men’s sports, namely basketball and football, because Mac & Clay caters to men, and then to any athletes who may have their hometown in Lexington; our thinking on the use of a “hometown” athlete versus a recruit from elsewhere was the likelihood that a greater concentration of social media followers and “would-be” customers would be in the Mac & Clay market.

We discussed with Matt the concept of social media influencers and the various levels of social media following, from nano (under 10k) to mega (over 500k) and the relevant platforms (Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter), and the correlation of budget to the social media status and the celebrity of the athlete. We combed through the rosters and landed on Jager Burton, a 6’4”, 307 lb., sophomore starting on the offensive line and hailing from Lexington. Jager then boasted 6,500 followers on Instagram, and 4,500 on Tik Tok.


Jager proved to be the winning choice for Mac & Clay! Suffice it to say we negotiated the deal with team Jager, one that included a Mac & Clay photo opportunity with Jager at the 2023 Kentucky Derby, as well as the desired social media posts and reels produced by Jager and Mac & Clay. In the process, we had to overcome hurdles including the potential use of a UK trademark in the suit jacket lining, as well as approval from the UK compliance Department. We “punted” on the former after discussing the topic and prohibitive costs with UK’s outsourced trademark administrator but secured the latter working directly with UK Compliance. Jager walked away happy with a very stylish custom suit tailored to his large dimensions.

Likewise, Mac & Clay was excited for the campaign and for the results, which boast approximately 5,000combined “likes” on Instagram, more awareness of the brand in the UK community and beyond, an up tick in foot traffic in the store, and additional followers on its own social platforms. The campaign was also smooth and fun. Matt provided us with the following complimentary testimonial:

"PowerNIL made my first experience with Name, Image & Likeness very smooth. I was uncertain and uncomfortable with the process but after a consultation with Ken Feinberg, I understood that having someone represent my interest with both knowledge and integrity was going to be crucial to help me navigate through the process. I let the team at PowerNIL know which player I was interested in working with along with the details of the arrangement and they handled the entire process. That included communication with the University admin and all legal docs necessary to protect the interest of all parties. This was a great experience, and I will be using them again!"

We have since concluded a transaction with a UK basketball player and, at our suggestion, Mac & Clay is evaluating a strategy and campaign that would involve a team concept as well as considering athletes and the University of Louisville.


The privilege to work with Matt Guarnieri and Mac & Clay on this NIL deal with UK football star Jager Burton was one PowerNIL earned though demonstrating its NIL expertise, commitment, and work ethic; it was certainly not automatic or a slam dunk, but a process. The NIL campaign was effective. I will not omit that it was also fun. Jager was wonderful to work with. We have learned that student-athletes are appreciative of these opportunities, and they bring excitement and enthusiasm to a campaign that is authentic and not feigned or “acted. We are grateful to Matt for this opportunity and for the great relationship we now enjoy. We hope you find this information helpful in your decision to explore NIL transactions as a strategy for your business, and that you will give PowerNIL the opportunity to compete for, and earn, your business and your partnership! Please contact Ken Feinberg at ken@powernil.com or 330/806-7198.

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