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Empowering Athlete NIL With Meta’s Rebecca Wathen

Guest Rebecca Wathen, Meta
22:53 min watch


Meta Strategic Partner Manager for Athletes Rebecca Wathen joins ADU’s Tai M. Brown at the 2024 NIL Summit in Atlanta to discuss Meta’s new partnership with the NCAA. The partnership features the expansion of Meta’s NIL Empower Program, which seeks to provide female student-athletes with additional NIL opportunities via Meta’s three platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Threads. Wathen: “This team didn’t exist three years ago but when NIL passed, we realized internally, this is a big opportunity… this opens up a brand new crop of nearly 400,000 athletes a year that need guidance on how to take advantage of this.” Wathen shares insight into the process for selecting athlete participants for the program and how Meta can help athletes learn about their identity outside the sport they play before reflecting on her own experience as a women’s basketball player at Duke and subsequent WNBA career.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - Tell me exactly what you do with Meta.
  • - Tell me what you mean by making Meta "the best place" for athletes to maximize their NIL.
  • - You played basketball at Duke, were drafted into the WNBA and at a certain point, you realized "What I do might not be basketball anymore but I still want to be affiliated with sport." Tell me about that moment for you.
  • - Tell me about utilizing Meta’s various influential outlets in order to help athletes figure out who they are outside of their sport.
  • - At what point did Meta realize, “Let’s not just be a platform, let’s be engaged”?
  • - Your insight from working with teams and being a former student-athlete was probably valued heavily. Did they lean on you as to how this program should be designed or did they design it and come to you for execution?
  • - What other aspects of your career experience helped you be successful at what you’re doing now?
  • - What is the actual engagement with student-athletes? Tell us about Meta’s NIL Empower Program.
  • - What was the process for selecting student-athletes for the program before the NCAA got involved and what is the process going to be now?
  • - You mentioned a mix of experienced social media creators and those with less experience creating content on social media - where is that balance, specifically for the people who don’t have as much experience?
  • - 100 athletes is a start to work out the kinks as you scale this program.
  • - Explain to me the benefit to Meta for being engaged with this?
  • - What’s your advice for college athletic administrators on helping student-athletes discover who they are in the context of what they do?