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More than half of $1.17 billion spent on NIL will go to 65 teams in one sport, report shows

College Football
Photo credit: USATSI

Since college athletes began cashing in on their name, image and likeness rights, more and more money has been flowing into the NIL channels. Big brands and small boosters alike are paying student-athletes to represent their brands, although the vast majority of money is going to a small group of schools in a single sport.

After passing the two-year mark of NIL, it’s clear that the market keeps growing each year.

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In Year 2 of the new rules, projections were that more than $1 billion would be spent in the segment, and in Year 3, the market is projected to grow even more.

According to a study by Opendorse, the leading athlete marketplace and NIL technology company, the NIL market should grow by 11.2% to a whopping $1.17 billion. And while that’s great for all student-athletes, the lion’s share of that money is flowing into the 65 Power 5 football programs.

The Power 5 conferences — Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 Conference, and Southeastern Conference (SEC) — have 65 football-playing member schools. However, Opendorse projects $595 million if the $1.17 billion in NIL deals next year will flow to them.

The study also projects that Power 5 football players will earn an average of $7,252 from NIL collectives during the 2023-24 school year, compared to the $1,560 the average Division I football player will make.

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Additionally, Power 5 men’s basketball players are projected to average $4,929 from collectives, and women’s basketball players $2,070.

Interestingly, of the current top-five NIL earners, only two — USC QB Caleb Williams and Texas QB Archie Manning — are football players. Incoming USC basketball player Bronnie James, LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne, and LSU basketball player Angel Reese round out the top five.

Once you get deeper down the list, though, Power 5 football stars do start to dominate.