Sunday December 3, 2023

Players Capitalize on NIL During March Madness for First Time

  • The NCAA Division I basketball tournaments are among the biggest stages in college sports.
  • Thanks to name, image, and likeness rules, athletes can monetize that stage for the first time.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula
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The NCAA Division I basketball tournaments are the biggest stage in college sports aside from the College Football Playoff.

Thanks to name, image, and likeness rules, athletes can monetize that stage for the first time — and already, men’s and women’s players have begun to capitalize.

  • Yahoo Sports inked a deal with Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero to promote its men’s basketball bracket challenge.
  • Official NCAA sponsors are participating: Dollar Shave Club made Gonzaga’s Drew Timme — and his famous mustache — a “chin-fluencer,” while Great Clips enlisted Stanford’s Cameron Brink to promote the brand.
  • Wingstop partnered with 11 women who play the wing position.
  • Bedding company Sheets & Giggles partnered with five male and female players who are the most “well-rested,” or have played the fewest minutes for their teams so far this year.

Regular Season NIL

Before March Madness tipped off, college basketball players were already among the most coveted athletes for NIL, according to data from Opendorse.

By the end of February, both men’s and women’s basketball ranked in the top three sports for NIL compensation. Women’s players earned 18.5% of total compensation, while men’s players earned 15%. Division I athletes made an average of $561.

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