MADISON — N-I-L stands for name... image... likeness. It's a catchphrase on college campuses where student athletes can make big bucks, partnering with their favorite companies. One UW-Madison student has the distinction of being the first to get an NIL deal with an iconic Wisconsin brand, and he isn't a traditional athlete.
Will Hazeltine plays the mellophone in the UW-Marching Band. This 21-year-old geological engineering major from Edgerton is a big deal on this campus of some 50,000 students from around the world. He is Kwik Trip's first NIL partner and is "super excited about that." Yes, you read that correctly. A member of the marching band has an NIL deal.
Hazeltine says he just emailed the company one day and asked about it, writing "what is the potential to have a partnership with you because I love Kwik Trip?" This coffee lover believes his initiative, Wisconsin roots, and passion for all things Kwik Trip, sold the company on him. His love for the company started when he got his driver's license at 16 years old. Hazeltine says "where I'm from, the main gas station is a Kwik Trip. So, every time I had to get gas, it was a Kwik Trip. And from there I got the Kwik Trip rewards card, so now I'm hooked for life."
As part of his deal, Hazeltine makes Kwik Trip-focused content that he posts to his social media pages. He told me it doesn't feel like work. "If it's work, it's fun work, and when it's fun work, it's almost not work, so I guess it's not work."
Right now, this Hazelnut Dream coffee drinker is working on a video of the many coffees available at the convenience store. "I rated every single Kwik Trip coffee and I searched how to judge coffee, so then I made a little Excel sheet, because I'm an engineer, so of course, I make an Excel, and then I rated all my coffee types from Kwik Trip."
Hazeltine says the deal gives him a lot of freedom and another excuse to visit Kwik Trip every day. I asked him how it's changed his life. Laughing, Hazeltine says "I'm not letting the stardom go to my head or nothing."
Hazeltine does get paid as part of his deal but would not say how much. He said he can get a lot of free coffee. I talked with Kwik Trip and the company says they are still looking for more student partnerships. Between Kwik Trip and Kwik Star, they have more than 800 stores in six states. The company wants students who are passionate about the brand, have a humble attitude, and good Midwest values.
And here's the link to the Kwik Trip NIL application.The company says it is still looking for partnerships for this school year.
Here's what Hazeltine says worked for him: