From Athlete to Entrepreneur: How College and High School Athletes are Cashing in on NIL Deals

Top 10 College Athletes Not Profiting from Name, Image, and Likeness

College and high school athletes now have the opportunity to earn money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals. This has allowed top student-athletes to work with major brands like Nike and Gatorade. For instance, according to On3, LeBron James’ son, Bronny James, has an estimated NIL value of $4.9 million. The landscape of amateur sports has changed significantly with the introduction of NIL deals in 2021.

University of Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark has been making headlines during March Madness not just for her exceptional performances on the court but also for her ability to secure lucrative deals with companies like Nike, Gatorade, and State Farm. This has led to a surge in interest in March Madness sponsorships and influencer-marketing campaigns, according to Ayden Syal, CEO of NIL marketing platform MOGL.

The rise of NIL deals has created a billion-dollar industry that allows student-athletes to earn substantial amounts of money regardless of their option to turn professional. On3 ranks student-athletes based on their annual NIL Valuation, which considers factors such as performance, influence, exposure, and deal data. This valuation is a combination of an athlete’s “Roster Value” and “NIL Value” to determine their total NIL Valuation.

While these student-athletes have garnered attention through their talents and social media presence, some top earners may have benefited from having well-known last names. The top 10 student-athletes profiting the most from NIL have valuations starting at $1.5 million as per March 26th data in 2024

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