What Heisman Contenders Could Earn From NIL

Heisman NIL earning potential

Heisman trophy contenders are historically among the most marketable athletes in college sports. Their award-worthy performance on the field leads to unmatched exposure from appearances in high-profile games and near-constant coverage in national sports media. 

More recently, schools have gotten in on the action. It’s become common for college football programs to market their stars as Heisman hopefuls. From the Joey Harrington for Heisman billboard in Times Square nearly two decades ago, to LSU’s “That’s Joe” campaign last year — school’s have embraced the opportunity to push their standouts in hopes they’ll earn an invite to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York. 

And it’s for good reason. Schools are able to use Heisman campaigns to show the next era of recruits how they’ll help them reach personal greatness in their program. If the player and campaign are successful, the school will earn more exposure and eyeballs, helping to build their brand among prospects and fans of the sport. 

Bringing Heisman Hype to the NIL Era

With changes allowing student-athletes to earn compensation from their name, image, and likeness rights on the horizon, the promotion of players will take a larger role than ever before. 

While many programs’ focus will remain on promoting their standout players, NIL will likely democratize many schools’ efforts to help all student-athletes build their brands. Social media success is measurable now, but soon we will also likely be able track what players are earning in NIL compensation. We will have measurable tools to understand which programs are best at helping student-athletes maximize the value of their NIL. 

With that in mind, we will still likely see the biggest efforts put toward those who bring the most awareness to a program — Heisman contenders. The activations are already popping up. Personalized logos for standout players; encouraging fans to follow student-athlete accounts; and soon, multi-channel Heisman campaigns that span the full season. 

2020 Heisman Contenders – NIL Earning Power

While these student-athletes likely have to wait until 2021 to monetize their NIL rights, many have already begun to maximize their earning potential. To see how the contenders stack up, we analyzed the 10 college football players with the best odds to win the Heisman Trophy, and ranked them by estimated annual earning potential under proposed upcoming NIL regulations.

Justin Fields | Ohio State

Heisman Odds: +400
Instagram Post Value: $11,382
Twitter Post Value: $1,586

Est Annual Earning Potential
$1,348,688

Trevor Lawrence | Clemson

Heisman Odds: +275
Instagram Post Value: $10,864
Twitter Post Value: $969

Est Annual Earning Potential
$1,230,653

Spencer Rattler | Oklahoma

Heisman Odds: +1400
Instagram Post Value: $7,492
Twitter Post Value: $461

Est Annual Earning Potential
$827,102

Sam Ehlinger | Texas

Heisman Odds: +1400
Instagram Post Value: $2,664
Twitter Post Value: $694

Est Annual Earning Potential
$347,200

Najee Harris | Alabama

Heisman Odds: +2000
Instagram Post Value: $3,220
Twitter Post Value: $130

Est Annual Earning Potential
$207,717

Ian Book | Notre Dame

Heisman Odds: +2200
Instagram Post Value: $1,552
Twitter Post Value: $208

Est Annual Earning Potential
$183,071

Kyle Trask | Florida

Heisman Odds: +1100
Instagram Post Value: $902
Twitter Post Value: $171

Est Annual Earning Potential
$95,507

Jamie Newman | Georgia

Heisman Odds: +1500
Instagram Post Value: $702
Twitter Post Value: $153

Est Annual Earning Potential
$88,917

Chuba Hubbard | Oklahoma State

Heisman Odds: +1000
Instagram Post Value: $1138
Twitter Post Value: $451

Est Annual Earning Potential
$42,904

D'Eriq King | Miami

Heisman Odds: +1100
Instagram Post Value: $453
Twitter Post Value: $161

Est Annual Earning Potential
$40,540

A Market Rate From Real Experience

Opendorse began facilitating social media endorsement opportunities with professional athletes in 2012. Thousands of paid opportunities have been published using our platform in the eight years that followed. These deals have involved thousands of athletes representing dozens of sports and leagues, with opportunities coming from brands ranging from the largest sponsors in sports to local businesses.

We have used nearly of decade of social media and payment 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.

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