The Future of NIL is Female
This past summer, the laws surrounding how and when student athletes can market themselves changed drastically. It was a landmark moment. Overnight, a new era was ushered in allowing student athletes across the country permission to leverage their name, image, and likeness, including other recognizable aspects of their persona (their NIL rights), for financial gain.
This now means student athletes, like twin sisters Hanna and Haley Cavinder, who have over two million followers on TikTok, could potentially earn well over $150,000 per year from their social media posts alone. It’s a big step. And the move is presenting some surprises. Many people assumed the new laws would result in the usual sports stars rising to the forefront to claim the lion’s share of new marketing deals: the guys. It turns out that female student athletes are benefitting from an overdue dose of well-deserved attention.
Influencer marketing pivots on the number of followers an athlete has on social media. It’s a fact that 8 out of ten of the most-followed NCAA Elite 8 basketball players right now are women. There has never been a better time for marketers to partner with this new wave of collegiate athletes as influencers, with the camera pointed directly at the ladies.
Top Players Brands Are Now Partnering With
Student athletes of all levels are ready to form partnerships. Those who represent themselves well enough on the court, and even better on social media, are winning out. Deals are being struck with athletes who are very unlikely to ever go pro, but have large followings on social media. Brands are watching. They want to expand their reach. Among the top twenty best-ranking student athletes on Instagram, nine are female.Those with the most followers at the moment include:
- Olivia Dunne (gymnastics, 1.4 M followers)
- Paige Bueckers (basketball, 952k followers)
- Haley Cavinder (basketball, 351k followers)
- Hanna Cavinder (basketball, 350k followers)
- Tara Davis (track and field, 344k followers)
- Zia Cooke (basketball, 200k followers)
- Alana Walker (volleyball, 195k followers)
- Azzi Fudd (basketball, 181k followers)
Boost Mobile, Kendra Scott, and Crypto.com, the self-described world’s fastest-growing crypto currency app, are just a few of the major brands now partnering with female student athletes. This is due to their strong online following and presence. MaximBet, an online sports betting app, went so far as to offer statewide NIL deals to every single NCAA female student athlete in Colorado over the age of 21. This includes all female athletes in Division I, II, and III.
MaximBet presents a unique story. While most states prevent student athletes from pairing with sports betting and gambling entities, Colorado seems to present an exception. Female collegiate athletes within the state who choose to partner with MaximBet do so by committing to a 4-month engagement period. They must follow the brand on various social media platforms and spotlight MaximBet in their posts. In return, the athletes receive $500, along with other perks. The top two athletes from this group who secure the most engagement online will receive a bonus4-figure. And this is just the beginning.
NIL marketplace, MatchPoint Connection, is also making strides in the female collegiate athlete space by devoting an entire division of the company’s efforts to facilitating deals for female athletes.
How Important Are Influencers in Marketing?
Influencers should be an integral part of your marketing plan. This is particularly true if your product or service is being targeted to a younger audience. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, it’s a fact that:
- 70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities
- 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations
- Influencer marketing campaigns earn $5.78 for every dollar spent
- 57% of fashion and beauty companies take advantage of influencer marketing
- The influencer marketing industry is expected to hit $13.8 billion by 2022
Now is the time to connect with female student athletes. Foster the level of awareness you want your brand to reach.