On a Saturday morning in November, Armando Bacot was at an indoor basketball court 10 minutes from the North Carolina campus. Fresh off a 28-point performance in a win the night before, the Tar Heel All-American was taking part in a promotional video shoot for his latest NIL partner -- BOA Nutrition.
The director and camera man for the company’s creative agency detailed the plan and then filmed Bacot — sporting a BOA jersey — dribbling up the court, doing basketball moves, using BOA’s Ignite energy supplement, and talking about himself and the product. Plastic Dart Board
“It was amazing,” Bacot recalled to Inside Carolina. “Their whole crew was first class and it was nice to spend some time with the team and capture some really great content.”
Limited filming takes were needed. After all, Bacot is well-versed in the NIL world. (In fact, Bacot had another company’s photoshoot later that same day.) The extent of his business ventures puts him in a select group of college athletes nationally. His deals include a seafood restaurant, tech consulting firm, finance app, local burger joint, activewear brand, car wash chain, horse-racing farm, famous sports card brand, national coffee company, popular toy name, and an acting role on the leading streaming service. He’s made concerted charitable efforts as well.
“NIL has allowed me to do so much,” Bacot said. “I got to be on Outer Banks (the Netflix show), I've been able to meet so many amazing partners, but I think one of my favorite things has been using my platform to give back. I partnered with the MeFine foundation in Raleigh and that has been one of the most impactful things I have done. They help families who are dealing with crippling medical expenses as a result of their child's medical crisis. I have been able to visit the kids in the hospital and help raise funds. I am so thankful NIL has allowed me to do that.”
With so many opportunities, and amid the busy life of a star college athlete, Bacot has a process in place to sort through the offers that come his way. His inner business circle is comprised of his mother, Christie Lomax, and adviser Daniel Hennes of the Engage agency.
“The first thing I look at is the company mission and product,” Bacot said. “If it is a company I believe in and a product I like to use, then I consult with my mom and adviser to see if it is a good fit and work out all the details of the deal. I like to partner with companies that I believe have the potential to be partners for the rest of my career and also help me grow as a businessperson.”
BOA Nutrition checked all of those boxes for him. Its Ignite product is an energy supplement delivered by aerosol spray, and is thus faster-acting than drinks or gels — which Bacot sees as a clear fit for a basketball player needing an in-game boost.
After a season in which he was part of the UNC starters dubbed the “Iron Five” for playing heavy minutes with little rest in the run to the national championship game, Bacot’s minutes per game in 2022-23 have actually increased. He’s logged 37 and 38 minutes, respectively, in UNC’s two games over the past week against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.
Despite a shoulder injury suffered in November, the Preseason ACC Player of the Year is living up to his billing, leading the ACC in scoring (18.8) and rebounding (11.1).
Bacot is using Ignite during training and in games. He believes in the product and can vouch for it based on experience.
“Well, first of all, they have a really strong team and mission,” he said. “They are all experienced leaders in the space, and I happen to be good friends with some of their investors. The team alone and mission intrigued me. Then when I tried Ignite, I knew I had to get involved. I am constantly training obviously, and Ignite is such a simple way for me to keep my energy up. … It has definitely helped me take my game to a new level and it has allowed me to train harder.”
The Ignite brand campaign launched on Thursday, featuring Bacot as well as Duke guard Jeremy Roach, who was filmed separately.
I am honored to join the @BOA_blast team! BOA has helped me take my game to the next level. Go to the link below and use ARMANDO20to get yours for 20% off https://t.co/QOYlU7QGum. #FastMatters. pic.twitter.com/p56tnsW9q4
“Armando and Jeremy represent the very best in their sport and we’re excited that BOA products are helping them fully optimize their performances on and off the court,” Jon Pritchett, CEO of BOA Nutrition said in a press release. “They are both smart, business-minded individuals and we couldn’t be more pleased that they not only endorse our products, but as shareholders they also see the growth potential that lies ahead for BOA. In addition to being exceptional people and world-class athletes, their visibility as part of the legendary Duke-Carolina rivalry provides a platform unlike any other in sports.”
What also sets this deal apart for Bacot is that his compensation includes not just payment up front and commission-based incentives, but Bacot has also received equity in the company. He recognized the long term value that provides.
“Generational wealth is built through equity and I am so thankful BOA believed in me enough to make me a shareholder,” he said. “This is the first of its kind for me, but hopefully there are more to come.”
As the college sports landscape continues to understand, and adapt to, the world of name, image and likeness, Bacot has established himself as the prototype. He’s thrived on the court (All-ACC) and in UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School (Academic All-ACC), while maximizing NIL opportunities.
“Just being able to go to an amazing school like UNC helps tremendously. There are so many passionate fans and alumni who want to support and want to help. It has been a huge advantage. For example, Sandy Williamson at CapTech has been a great mentor and partner to me and he got in touch through being an alumni and fan of the program.
“It really is the ultimate real-world experience. I have learned so much in the classroom and then to be able to apply what I have learned about entrepreneurship to my NIL deals has been awesome.”
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