March Madness Meets NIL Deals: How High School and College Sports Are Transforming in the Digital Age

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

Amateur sports have seen a significant transformation with the introduction of NIL deals in 2021, which allow high school and college athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness. This has led to major brands like Nike and Gatorade working with top student-athletes such as LeBron James’ son, Bronny James, who has an estimated NIL value of $4.9 million.

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.

NIL deals have 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. This data was accurate as of March 26, 2024.

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