What’s a tweet worth to an NFL athlete?

The answer soon will be “money. Real money.”

In a new deal between NFL Players Inc. and Opendorse, a digital marketing company, businesses will be connected with NFL players and will pay them to tweet endorsements, Sports Business Journal reported. Opendorse has created a platform called Activate, on which brands can seek positive buzz and tweets. It presently is being tested and has about 200 NFL players on it, Liz Mullen writes. The full launch will occur in July, the month when the NFL’s 1,700 players report to training camp. It is, according to Mullen, “believed to be the first initiative where a union representing active players is allowing brands to access its membership for positive messaging on social media through an online marketplace platform.”

From Mullen:

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but NFLPI President Keith Gordon said companies that pay for the tweets will pay a surcharge that will be split between Opendorse and the NFLPI. Gordon declined to reveal the percentage split.
In addition to generating revenue for the union, Gordon believes the deal will help players earn endorsement money and give corporate partners a new way to connect directly with players.
For example, in its testing phase in the last few months, Lions wide receiver Golden Tate tweeted an endorsement for Internet company Knoda, in which the company received exposure and Tate received a fee for the tweet.
“What Opendorse allows us to do is to focus on social media and maximizing social media opportunities for athletes,” Gordon said. “Opendorse is solely a marketplace for micro endorsements that are based in social media. The benefit to companies is they have direct access to NFL players.”

It may be a nice little moneymaker for athletes, if they’re up front about the tweets they’re compensated for. When used smartly, there’s an unfiltered honesty in the accessibility to athletes that Twitter provides and the cost of losing that might outweigh whatever revenue comes in.