PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Two Portland-area high school athletes are the first in the state to profit from a brand using their name, image and likeness to promote products.
When the Oregon School Activities Association approved a rule change on Oct. 10 allowing high school athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, Portland Gear owner Marcus Harvey wasted no time in moving forward with plans to have student athletes Jackson Shelstad and Sofia Bell represent his brand.
“They’re both the best top players in their class, so both going to University of Oregon next year, the number-one-rated seniors in both men’s and women’s basketball right now. Both on super good teams, both grade student athletes,” Harvey said, describing Shelstad and Bell.
Shelstad attends West Linn High School and is on the basketball team. He’s also playing on the school’s football team his senior year.
The point guard committed to playing for Coach Dana Altman at the University of Oregon in 2023 after also receiving offers from Stanford, UCLA and the University of Florida.
Shelstad said this experience is an excellent opportunity as he prepares for the next phase of his athletic career.
“The older I get, hopefully more [deals] will come, but it’s good to get started this early just to see how things work,” he said.
Portland Gear had made NIL deals previously with college athletes who call the Portland area home, like Stanford’s Cameron Brink and Oregon State University’s Jaydon Grant. Harvey said making similar deals with high school athletes was an easy transition.
The brand and the athletes agreed on a contract and how Shelstad and Bell will help market Portland Gear.
Shelstad and Bell are expected to wear the gear to school and around town and advertise it on their social media pages.
The two took part in a brand photo shoot together.
“Being advocates and pro-Portland Gear, this is where they’re from and so it’s kind of being an emblem for their hometown as well. So, we’re hoping that this is something that they wear and carry with them for a long time” Harvey said.
Shelstad said so far, Harvey instructs him on what to post to social media, which makes his job easier. As a busy student athlete, he said he appreciates the guidance on what to post.
So far, the experience has taught him what sort of brands he wants to associate his name, image and likeness with in the future.
“I just think it feels right, this Portland gear deal, and I just want to, you know, I don’t want to just be signing like any kind of deal. I think I signed this one because I felt like it fit, being an Oregon kid, going to University of Oregon, with Portland Gear being in Portland,” he said.
The other student athlete who accepted the NIL deal with Portland Gear, Bell, is a 6-foot-1 wing who’s committed to joining the Oregon Ducks Women’s Basketball program in 2023. Bell is the daughter of Greg Bell, who played for the University of Oregon Men’s Basketball program in the mid-1980s.
She’s excited to play at the collegiate level and to sign with Portland Gear.
“I’ve lived in Portland my whole life, so this feels like the natural step for me in my basketball journey. I’m a big fan of the brand Marcus has built, so this immediately felt like a great fit,” she said.
Harvey, who’s a University of Oregon alumnus, is thrilled to be supporting two future Ducks. While he doesn’t have any more high school athletes on his radar for NIL deals, he said Portland Gear already has marketing projects planned for the holiday season.
In the future, he said he’d be open to Shelstad and Bell having more creative impact on the brand.