Athlete NIL monetization is bearing down on college sports. But while endorsement opportunities will be new to next year’s student-athletes, professional athletes have earned income from their NIL rights for years.
NFL players are consistently among the highest-earning stars in sports. These athletes stand to earn thousands-to-millions of dollars annually for off-field activities. For rookies, the NFL Draft is often where opportunities begin. In 2020, 24 first-round draft selections used Opendorse alongside their brand partners to earn their first endorsement dollars as pros.
This isn’t new for professional players. But today’s student-athletes know changes are around the corner. Understanding this, colleges and athletes are investing more resources and energy into building valuable personal brands. And the results are real. This week’s rookies will walk across the stage with more ready-made marketability than any class before them. Just as importantly, these athletes will be more educated and better prepared to understand, build, and monetize the brands they’ve built.
To understand just how marketable the draft class of 2021 is, we ranked several of the top prospects by value per social post and estimated annual earning potential. Some are sure-fire first-round picks. Others are college superstars hoping to get their shot. But they’re all young athletes with extremely valuable brands.
Value Per Post Calculation:
We use a decade of social media and payment data to establish a formula that offers an accurate market rate — an assessment of what any given athlete can command in the market for a single social media post.
Estimated Value per Post (VPP) is calculated using the cost per thousand followers (CPR), cost per engagement (CPE), and cost per thousand impressions (CPM) from thousands of paid posts published via Opendorse since 2012.
The calculation factors in the athlete’s sport, status, current follower count, average engagement rate per post, impressions per post, and additional proprietary data points to provide an estimate of the dollar amount the athlete could command from sponsors in exchange for publishing one branded content post on their own social media channels.
Potential Annual Earnings Calculation
Annual earnings are calculated by multiplying the athlete’s total per-post value with the estimated number of promotions per year the athlete could be expected to participate in.
The number of promotions per year are calculated based on actual transaction data from the pro market as well, which has been translated to the collegiate market.
- The athlete’s social presence impacts their value per post.
- Their school and sport impact their promotions per year.
- Their individual accomplishments and experience impact their promotions per year.