The First Six Months of the NIL Era

    • Thousands of athletes are now at least a little bit richer.
    • Football athletes dominated the NIL scene, signing 47% of deals, according to Opendorse.

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Since NCAA athletes got the rights to their names, images, and likenesses on July 1, there’s been a whirlwind of activity from athletes, brands, schools, donors, and alumni.

Six months in, the industry is still fresh — with several remaining uncertainties. But there’s one clear takeaway: Thousands of athletes are now at least a little bit richer.

Football athletes dominated the NIL scene, making 47% of NIL earnings. The rest of the top five:

  • Women’s basketball – 27.3%
  • Men’s basketball – 15.6%
  • Women’s volleyball – 2.4%
  • Baseball – 1.1%

An athlete could make an average of $4,923 per agreement for a “multi-activity” endorsement. Content creation could yield more than $3,000 per item, and an in-person appearance could pay out around $1,700 an hour.

Deals, Deals, Deals

There have been rumors that some athletes, like Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, have already made at least $1 million. While not all the deals’ financial terms have been disclosed, here are a few highlights:

  • Gatorade signed UConn phenom Paige Bueckers and Nike signed UCLA soccer player Reilyn Turner.
  • Steph Curry inked a partnership with UConn freshman Azzi Fudd, and Tom Brady enlisted 10 athletes to promote his new apparel brand.
  • Team-wide deals became popular, though at least two are under investigation. Built Bar offered partnerships to the entire BYU football team and is paying walk-ons the cost of tuition.

In the next six months, it’s possible there may be more regulation introduced into the NIL industry — but clearly, the floodgates are open.