Almost all media coverage of Name, Image, and Likeness has focused on the superstars. The Heisman contenders and All Americans in the most nationally visible sports of football and men’s basketball. But the student-athlete NIL opportunity doesn’t stop with the Zion Williamson’s of the world. And it goes beyond the gridiron or the hardwood of men’s basketball.
Examples of this under-the-radar earning power permeate throughout college athletics. Premiere programs in less-covered sports draw passionate fans that turn into valuable followers for the team’s top athletes.
A clear example of this is the University of Nebraska Volleyball team. Led by coaching legend John Cook, the Huskers are an NCAA tournament regular and the owner of five national championships.
This on-court success has led to unmatched support from the Nebraska fanbase. The team is also the owner of the nation’s longest sell-out in the history of NCAA women’s sports, despite hosting matches in one of the sport’s largest arena with a regular attendance of over 8,000 fans.
This fan support has led the program to revenue profitability year in and year out, an uncommon achievement for sports beyond men’s basketball and football. And that support won’t stop with the program.
More Than a Recruiting Pitch
Prior to NIL rights dominating the college sports conversation, this unmatched level of fan support promised a home-court advantage and hell of a recruiting pitch. Who wouldn’t want to play for a packed house every night?
These benefits remain, but the recruiting pitch from programs like Nebraska is about to get even stronger. Fan support will soon lead to very real income in the pockets of Nebraska Volleyball players.
The success and support of the program will undoubtedly bring to more recognition and opportunities for student-athletes under adjusted NIL rights.
Local and regional brands are already fighting to align with the program and reach its fan base through sponsorship activation. Wouldn’t it only make sense for brands to align themselves with a program’s premier players and personalities?
Annual NIL Earning Potential and Market Rate
Opendorse has facilitated and published paid social media posts from professional athletes on behalf of brands since 2012. Today, we are trusted by the most prominent leagues, players associations, and governing bodies in sports — including the NHL, PGA TOUR, NFLPA, WNBA, USWNTPA, and MLBPA — to help athletes maximize and monetize the value of their name, image, and likeness rights on social media.
These opportunities have involved thousands of athletes representing dozens of sports and leagues, with deals coming from brands ranging from global sponsors to local businesses.
We have used this decade of social media transaction data to establish a formula that offers a true market rate — an accurate assessment of what any given athlete can command for a single branded post.
Value Per Post Calculation:
Estimated Value per Post 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.