Popular College Basketball Players Social Media Earnings Possibilities

The top 25 college basketball student athletes in 2021 stand to earn personal financial reward possibilities according to a recent study provided by BetArizona to the Sports Techie community blog. College athletes in all sport will remember July as the end of the exploitation of NCAA athletes because before then, it was forbidden for men and women to profit via the commercial use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL) through negotiated endorsement contracts, brand sponsorship deals, or compensation of any form. Because former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon challenged the NCAA’s long held “amateurism” exploitive system in 2009, new preliminary legislation now in place allow current student athletes to generate earnings through the marketing of personal brands. Formerly know as collegiate amateurs, the top 25 student-athletes featured in the study’s research are shown how they could be impacted by simply monetizing their social platforms.

NCAA Basketball – Which Athletes Could Earn The Most $$ According To BetArizona

College Basketball Social Earnings Study

The first study finding of note about the top 25 is the split between the 12 women and 13 men is almost 50%-50%. Reality is the United States has not had a female President yet and for a long time, sports for women and girls were not an exception to exclusion but a fact considering the lack of opportunities to play, little exposure for recruitment and barely any dedicated fanbases. Inequalities between the men’s and women’s collegiate athletic programs extended to training facilities, travel, and the almighty television and streaming rights. Title IX came into play in June, 1972 as a federal civil law and immediately swung the pendulum towards equality. Social media and now NIL are working together to provide college student-athletes means to income regardless of gender. Social channels and personal handles have evened the revenue generating playing field for all the sexes.

The top 25 are all spread out over Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok with moderate to massive follower counts in the ranges of 80k to 4.4 million. By adding up the total social media followings through September of each of the top male and female college basketball players, BetArizona used the public data to speculate as to who are the most well positioned athletes ready to earn money by NIL endorsements. They used a social rate of $0.80 per follower per year.

The formula revealed the top 25 has enough followers to (potentially) generate in excess of $10.5 million annually across NIL arrangements. The estimate is but 1% of the NCAA’s total reported 2019 revenues. The numbers do not extract NCAA’s March Madness earnings and how that changes the metrics.

Here are the top 25 NCAA basketball players by sponsorship earning potential.


O’Bannon To O’Neal To Bueckers

It wasn’t easy for O’Bannon and Bruins’ teammates to see avatars of themselves in college playing NCAA Basketball 09 knowing their likenesses were part of the unfair “amateur sports” business model in place resulting in their multi-billion-dollar industry exploitation. Players of the past, present and future can thank O’Bannon and his attorneys for changing the course of NCAA history through an antitrust class-action lawsuit enabling the commercial use of their personal image.

Shareef O’Neal attends LSU, is the son of NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal and tops the list of the top 25 potential social media earners. The younger O’Neal has more than 2.6 million IG followers and 1.5 million on Tik Tok dwarfing the second place standing of Adrian Nunez from Michigan by around 1.5 million followers. Sponsorships centered on his social handles, paid appearances and business ventures such as energy drinks, NFTs and speaking sessions, pay Shareef more than $3.5 million, or about one third of the Tigers basketball program income. Nunez leverages his 2.7 million followers to promote designer labels the likes of Coach, to endorsing a local gym in Ann Arbor.

Next, to the surprise of many fans, UConn’s Paige Bueckers ranks as the third most-followed basketball player in the NCAA with 1.3 million followers earning her the rank of most-followed woman on social. Her nationwide basketball stardom dating to high school led Bueckers to file for a trademark for “Paige Bucket.” Look for a line of her athletic apparel to launch soon. Hailey Van Lith on the Louisville Cardinals sports 762k followers ranking her fourth. She is sure to pass 1 million this coming season after signing on as one of the first Octagon sports agency clients because they specialize in NIL.

Sponsorship deals, influencer marketing and digital advertising, including expanded YouTube channels, are all a part of potential NIL income streams by current NCAA student-athletes.

Sports Techie, to learn more about O’Bannon, the Godfather of NIL, read his book co-authored by Michael McCaan titled, Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA.

Former Clemson star quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, had to wait until he graduated to start the NFT income rolling in via a partnership with Topps on Mintable.

Not Shareef.

One thing for sure though, Shaq wants Shareef to make his own money and business empire.

Shaq said to his kids, “We ain’t rich. I’m rich.”

He already is, Dad.

So are many more student-athletes thanks to O’Bannon.

Enjoy the good, and equal earning times while they last.

You earned it.

See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!

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