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Limitless Possibilities?

  • As with many NIL opportunities, it’s unclear just how much athletes could make selling apparel, and who will bring home the most cash.
  • But the first few weeks have already shown that there’s an appetite across sports.
Photo: Michigan Photography/Design: Alex Brooks

As with many NIL opportunities, it’s unclear just how much athletes could make by selling apparel — and who will bring home the most cash.

But the first few weeks in the industry have already shown that there’s an appetite for it beyond just the most famous men’s basketball and football players. 

But just how lucrative this NIL venture could be compared to others — like social media posts, for example — remains to be seen.

Range of Jerseys

Wangler thinks the most lucrative opportunities will be at “blue blood” schools, but that eventually Division II and III athletes could benefit too if they “get creative.”

The sports that he thinks will be the most popular? Men’s basketball and football, obviously. At Michigan, The M Den is currently only selling football jerseys and will attack men’s hoops next. 

But he plans to help The M Den expand to other sports, too, since there’s a “huge” opportunity for women’s sports athletes to cash in.

Wangler declined to disclose how much Michigan athletes will make off this particular deal. But he did say that their cut of the profits will be “significantly” higher than that of players in the NFL, which is usually 6-7% of the wholesale jersey price.

‘Sky Is the Limit’

Just like with jersey sales, women’s sports athletes could benefit from individual design sales. Kentucky women’s volleyball items, for example, sell out “within 24 hours” on The Players Trunk, Pomerantz said. When that first happened, “my jaw dropped.”

“You may be a walk-on on the bench, but you could have a huge personality, or a huge moment, and monetize that,” Pomerantz said. A player could depict a buzzer-beater or another famous play on a shirt, for example, and sell thousands.

If an athlete goes out on their own, they may have to deal with the cost of producing their clothing line. But that route has several benefits, including teaching them how to “hone in on their entrepreneurial skills outside of the classroom,” NOCAP Sports CEO Nicholas Lord told FOS.

Working with other brands may help with the production cost — though these companies will take a cut of the profits. 

While Pomerantz didn’t disclose the exact percentage athletes receive from sales on The Players Trunk, he said they get “the lion’s share” of the profit. T-shirts and hoodies go for around $30 and $60, respectively.

Some players could make five or six figures, Pomerantz predicted. “The sky is really the limit.”

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