College Athletes Are Winning with Name and Likeness


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Empowering College Athletes

Gone are the days where college athletes were bound by restrictive rules that prevented them from profiting off their own name and likeness. In 2021, the landscape of college sports underwent a seismic transformation, opening up unprecedented opportunities for these young, talented individuals.

Join us as we delve into this revolutionary change and explore how college athletes can now seize the moment to capitalize on their name and likeness, turning their passion and hard work into profit. In this blog Hollywood Branded discusses a new era in collegiate sports, where the playing field extends far beyond the game itself.

College Athletes Are Winning with Name and Likeness - 10.2.23

The Name and Likeness Revolution

For college athletes, the concept of "name and likeness" has transformed from a vague legal jargon to a powerful phrase that holds the key to unprecedented opportunities. The NCAA pulls in over $1.1B in revenue each year, thanks to the hard work put forth by the athletes themselves, who saw none of it. This new rule encompasses the rights of these athletes to profit from their own image, reputation, and personal brand. In essence, it means they can finally step into the spotlight, endorse products, sign lucrative deals, and make a real income while pursuing their passion for sports. This paradigm shift has ushered in a new era, one where college athletes can harness their fame and talent to secure their financial futures. This development is also excellent news for brands eager to tap into the college sports market. With college athletes now able to capitalize on their name and likeness, brands have access to a pool of highly influential, authentic, and relatable endorsers. These athletes have loyal fan bases, and their impact goes beyond the game; they are cultural icons. Partnering with college athletes allows brands to align with these rising stars, leverage their popularity, and engage with a younger demographic that values authenticity and relatability. 

Meet the Highest-Paid NIL Athletes

As we delve deeper into the transformative world of name and likeness rights for college athletes, it's impossible to ignore the incredible financial opportunities that have emerged from the new rule. While many athletes are reaping the rewards of their newfound freedom, some are taking it to an entirely different level. These trailblazers are not just cashing in; they are becoming some of the highest-paid Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) athletes, showcasing the immense earning potential within this evolving landscape. In the following sections, we'll introduce you to some of the standout individuals who are not only excelling in their sport, but also mastering the game of brand endorsements, securing themselves a spot among the highest-paid NIL athletes in the nation.

Bronny James Bronny James

PC: John McGillen, USC Sports

Bronny James, whose full name is LeBron Raymone James Jr., is a prominent and emerging basketball talent, widely recognized for being the eldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James. Born on in Cleveland, Ohio, Bronny has inherited his father's passion for basketball and athleticism. He gained considerable attention through his high school basketball career at Sierra Canyon School in California, where he played alongside other talented young prospects. His impressive on-court skills, including his shooting range and court vision, have garnered considerable media and fan attention, with many anticipating his future in the NBA. Beyond basketball, Bronny is active on social media platforms, where he has a substantial following, making him an influential figure even off the basketball court. As he continues to develop his game, and carve his own path, Bronny James remains a notable figure in the world of sports, carrying the weight of both his famous name and the promise of a bright future in basketball.

Bronny, now at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, is the highest paid athlete due to his NIL, pulling in an estimated $5.9M. He has deals with Beats by Dre, Nike and PSD underwear. 

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shedeur sanders


PC: Brian Schaible, Sports Illustrated 

Shedeur Sanders is an emerging football quarterback for the University of Colorado in Boulder. Born in Cedar Hill, Texas, Shedeur is the son of former NFL cornerback and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. He played high school football at Trinity Christian School in Texas, where he showcased his exceptional passing skills and football IQ. His talent on the field has garnered significant attention, and he has been a highly sought-after recruit in the world of college football. In 2021, he committed to play football at Jackson State University, where his father, Deion Sanders, served as the head coach. Shedeur's commitment to the Jackson State Tigers generated considerable buzz and further solidified his status as a rising star in the football world, before transferring to CU with his dad this year. With his pedigree, dedication, and talent, Shedeur Sanders is poised to make a significant impact in college football and beyond.

Shedeur is the second highest paid athlete in terms of capitalizing on his name and likeness, raking in $4.5M. He has endorsement deals with Mercedes Benz, Beats by Dre, Under Amour, Brady and PLB Sports and Entertainment.  

Olivia Dunne

Livvy Dunne

PC: Livvy Dunne,

Olivia Dunne (Livvy Dunne) is a rising American gymnastics sensation known for her exceptional talent and dedication to the sport. Born in Hillsdale, New Jersey, Olivia began her gymnastics journey at a young age and quickly rose through the ranks. She has been a member of the prestigious USA Gymnastics National Team, showcasing her prowess on the uneven bars. She gained widespread recognition for her outstanding performances at the junior and senior levels of gymnastics, earning her a reputation as one of the sport's promising stars. Her grace, precision, and charisma on the competition floor have captured the hearts of gymnastics enthusiasts worldwide. Beyond her gymnastics achievements, Olivia is a social media influencer, using her platform to connect with fans and share her journey in the sport. She has 6.8M followers on TikTok and 3M on Instagram. 

Olivia is third on the list, making a reported $3.2M from NIL. She has brand deals with American Eagle, Forever 21 and Vuori.


arch manning

Arch Manning

PC: Sara Diggins, American-Statesman

Arch Manning is a highly acclaimed football quarterback who plays for the University of Texas. He hails from a prestigious football lineage, being the nephew of NFL legends Peyton Manning and Eli Manning and the grandson of Archie Manning, himself a former NFL quarterback. Arch was a standout player at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, where he showcased remarkable talent. With a strong arm, exceptional accuracy, and poise in the pocket, Arch garnered widespread attention as one of the top high school quarterback prospects in the nation. His surname, Manning, carries immense weight in the football world, and Arch Manning is poised to continue the family legacy while forging his path to success in college and potentially beyond in the NFL. 

Ranking 4th in NIL sponsorships, he has made an estimated $2.8M. He has a multi- year deal with Panini America. 

caleb williams

Caleb Williams

PC: USC Athletics

Caleb Williams is a rising star in the world of college football, known for his exceptional quarterback skills and dynamic playmaking abilities. Caleb quickly made a name for himself during his high school career at Gonzaga College High School in Washington. He became one of the top-ranked high school quarterbacks in the country, earning accolades for his arm strength, accuracy, and ability to extend plays with his legs. In 2021, Caleb Williams committed to the University of Oklahoma, where he joined the Sooners football program. His arrival generated excitement among Oklahoma fans, as he was viewed as a potential game-changing talent for the team. Caleb's versatility and leadership on the field have continued to impress, making him a player to watch in the world of college football. As he continues to embark on his collegiate career after transferring to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, there are high expectations for Caleb Williams to excel and potentially make a significant impact on the national stage.

Right behind Arch, Caleb has made $2.6M in NIL deals. He has brand deals with Athletic Brewing Company, Fanatics, Neutrogena, AT&T, Beats by Dre, PlayStation, AC+ION Water and ALO Yoga. 

Embracing a New Era

In conclusion, the evolving landscape of college sports, particularly the newfound opportunities for athletes to capitalize on their name and likeness, marks a seismic shift in the way we perceive collegiate athletics. With college athletes now empowered to monetize their image, reputation, and personal brand, a world of potential has opened up for these talented individuals. We've witnessed athletes like Bronny James, Shedeur Sanders, Olivia Dunne, and Arch Manning seize the moment, using their exceptional skills and marketability to secure their futures both on and off the field. Additionally, the rise of athletes like Caleb Williams, who have made waves in college football, demonstrates the transformative power of this shift. Furthermore, brands now have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with up and coming talent, before their stock flies through the roof. 

Eager To Learn More?

Want to learn more about how your brand can capitalize on pop culture? Read these 5 blogs below, written by your very own Hollywood Branded team! 

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