A Bold New World: The Future of NIL’s Top Earners

Bronny James. Arch Manning. Caleb Williams.

Those are just a few names mentioned on a list of the NIL’s top earners early in 2023.

bronny James

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for this decade, the NIL stands for “Name, Image, & Likeness” and is a new way for amateur athletes to cash in on their name, skills, looks…….essentially, their brand. No longer do student athletes have to rely on secret envelopes from boosters or gym bags of cash dropped on their parent’s doorstep. It’s now legal to be out in the open, doling out cash to student athletes for all the world to see. 

One of the aforementioned is Caleb Williams: THE top college football recruit coming out in the 2021 prospect pool, and the USC’s most recent recipient of the FBS’s most prestigious award, the Heisman Trophy. 

The other two: Progeny of the most recognized names in sports this century. Bronny James is the offspring of NBA global superstar, Lebron James. Arch Manning, the son of Cooper Manning – the brother of NFL QB legends, Eli & Peyton Manning and son of Archie Manning, (whom, between the three of them, share 4 Super Bowl Championships).

Arch Manning

These are the types of young guns one would expect to be on this list. No real shock there. 

But hiding just a few spots back are two relatively unknown athletes who’ve been quietly thrust into stardom….accoutrement & all. Gymnasts Olivia “Livvy” Dunne & Sunisa “Suni” Lee are THE top female earners during this 2023 cycle, and if this reporter is correct, the Godmothers of a future trend looking to set NIL earning markets on fire.

So what’s their deal? What’s they’re gift that makes them so marketable (afterall, it’s the endorsement deals this kids are cleaning up on)?

Well, Suni was an Olympic Gold Medalist at the 2020 games in Tokyo & a current member of the Auburn University’s gymnastics team; an incredibly decorated talent. Livvy is a former member of the USA national team and current member of the LSU gymnastics squad.

But what’s the real sell on these girls? 

You already know.

They’re hot.

Now, this is not to take away from their incredible athletic prowess. They both perform at high levels (one, at the highest) for their respective sports. But let’s get real for a sec. Gymnastics draws dick. The only people who tune in to watch it are perverted, bored men flipping through channels during commercials, active adolescent gymnasts, and the parents of the participants. 

Every four years.

Sure, they may compete throughout the year. But you show me a time when the highest viewed college gymnastics meet came within 10% of the viewership numbers of a Top 25 FBS game…..any of them…..and I’ll take down this article immediately, replacing it with one about women’s sports being just as popular as men’s.

For Olivia Dunne, specifically: She’s attractive. That’s it.

She no doubt seems like a sweet girl, innocent in nature. I am not looking to discredit her personality. But she does prance around in her leotard, making seemingly innocent (albeit provocative in nature) posts to her social media. And it is all done under the guise of her sport. It’s part of the game. The reality is there is nothing relatively special about this girl other than she looks good in skin-tight clothing.

Now, I have NOTHING against her hustle. I say “get that paper while the paper’s to be got”.  She hit the genetic jackpot. Who wouldn’t? And no doubt she worked her ass off to get where she is. She earned it all on her own. What I’m speaking to is the way she has skyrocketed into the American lexicon, plastered all over every media outlet & social media website from here to Hong Kong. She’s capitalized on her brand by exposing her greatest assets (pun intended), and like most famous broads cashing in on social media, utilized the one cemented known in branding:

SEX SELLS.

There will never, and I mean NEVER, be a shortage of horny, lonely men looking to scroll through pics of sexy women in provocative, compromised positions. Most men are just dogs with the little pink thingy hanging out, always eager to watch a little chick shake her tail feathers. Sorry to call out my brethren like that, but it’s true. Sex & lust will always sell with a particular (but large) demographic. Look at how many female “influencers” have evolved into larger-than-life figures; jet-setting around the world, posing on exotic beaches, repping some start-up fashion/health brand, donning their most revealing bikini. Go onto Instagram or TikTok right now and tell me there’s a shortage of broads with D-Cups bouncing to whatever new female “empowerment rap” is in trend. Go onto YouTube and tell me there’s not an endless list of compilations for the “Big Bank Challenge” (where the game is to lip-sync “small waist, pretty face with a big bank” while twerking in your most revealing athleisure wear).

I dare you.

Sex has always maintained a profitable market since the early days of the internet. No new norm, even then. With the invention of social media platforms, the disintegration of sexual taboos, and a myriad of sexually oriented websites (PornHub & OnlyFans sit at the top), sex has an even greater buying power than it once did. This puts attractive amateur female athletes in a very empowering position.

I predict that the amateur female athlete population will cash checks of greater amounts, per capita, than the average male athlete. What I mean by this is the average, sub-par college female athlete will outearn her male counterparts. 

Think about it. Who’s going to give a guy third in the rotation (for his respective sport) a lucrative sponsorship deal for a soft drink or athletic gear? What company is going to pay this kid to rep their brand? None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Now, ask the same question, but instead of a man (even an outrageously handsome one) replace them with a hot broad. Who will attract my eyes to the brand? Who will garner more “likes”, more “retweets”, and more “#’s”?

I know the answer. You know the answer. I’m just saying it out loud. 

NIL’s Top Earners

But let’s be honest, we’re all thinking it. Women included.

By my calculations, the average female college swimmer from SDSU is bound to make thousands more in sponsorship deals & other NIL earning outlets than her male opposite. And please, don’t ask me about Leah Thomas. I don’t know how he fits into this equation other than he’s absolutely cashing in. Call it the “ESPN Caitlyn Jenner Effect”. We all remember the Kardashian branded world tour CJ was sent upon.

And why not let them see a payday? 

If the market deems it, then it’s free game, and this is the game that’s playing out. So what if attractive female athletes with average talent have an earnings advantage in this post-NIL society. It’s all about eyes on the product. Don’t be jealous. Let ’em eat. Besides, if men weren’t so thirsty all the time, these markets wouldn’t even exist. But we are, and they do.

So this trend is gonna be a thing. Write that down.

We can have the conversation about buying recruits and capitalism in college sports another time.

Source Links

https://www.firstpointusa.com/blog/2023/02/nilstop-10-most-valuable-athletes-for-2023/

https://www.on3.com/nil/rankings/

2 thoughts on “<strong>A Bold New World: The Future of NIL’s Top Earners</strong>”

  1. Great read indeed. Definitely learned a little more about NILs and why they are important to building a brand. Maybe Bleacher Brothers will get a few NILs of their own. Keep shooting out this content. Got a new fan out of this camp at least.

    1. Love that RoJo. Thanks for the input. We like getting the pulse of our base via comments.

      And as long as you guys ask for it, we’ll keep turning & burning.

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