March Madness 2022 – Sweet Sixteen female and male players heavily involved in NIL deals
It’s been less than a year since the NCAA said college athletes could enjoy their name, image and likeness (NIL) — and college basketball stars have been signing deals left and right ever since. This includes several Sweet 16 athletes from the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments.
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According to data from Opendorse, female basketball players earned the second highest compensation of all NIL deals (19%), only behind college football players (51%) and ahead of male basketball players male academics (15%).
And it makes sense. The 2021 NCAA women’s title game between Stanford and Arizona drew 4.1 million viewers – the most since 2014. This year, the women’s tournament finally has the same branding as the men’s. Viewership grew 15% in the first two rounds, and the second jumped 25% on 2021according to ESPN PR.
The Sweet Sixteen has its share of major endorsements from both the female and male side.
Bueckers, a UConn star point guard, signed his first endorsement deal with footwear and apparel marketplace platform StockX in November 2021. According to a company spokesperson, the multi-year deal means that she will become “the centerpiece” of StockX’s upcoming focus on women. sports and basketball.
A few weeks later, she became the first college athlete to sign a sponsorship deal with Gatorade.
Bueckers, which also has a deal with CashApp, filed a trademark for “PAIGE BUCKETS” last year through agency Wasserman, which represents her.
Purdue Boilermaker seniors both have sponsorship deals with VIDSIG and Cameo, apps that allow the purchase of personalized video messages.
Stefanovic has also entered into paid partnerships with Napleton Italian Car Imports in Indianapolis and Dutch Farms, a Chicago-based dairy and deli company.
Williams, a guard at UConn, is sponsored by two of the most typical student brands.
In addition to posting content sponsored by Maruchan Ramen, Williams has also posted content in collaboration with Wings Over – a favorite of chicken wings and tenders lovers – and vitamin maker Goli Nutrition.
The Gonzaga star is infamous for his mustache – so it’s no surprise he has a sponsorship deal with Dollar Shave Club.
Timme also has its own merchandise, a deal with Walker’s Furniture & Mattress in Washington and Northern Quest, a casino in Spokane.
Another UConn star, Fudd is looking to follow Stephen Curry’s shoes. Fudd has signed on to be part of his brand SC30 Inc., the athlete-run organization that handles Curry’s off-court activities.
“As I continue to focus on becoming the best player and student I can be in college, I also look forward to expanding my understanding of business and life beyond basketball,” said Fudd said in December. “This partnership with Steph and his SC30 team will help me achieve that. I’m really excited about everything we do together in the future.”
Fudd has also posted sponsored content from Chipotle and Bartleby, an online homework helper.
A projected top three pick in the NBA Draft (ESPN+), Banchero recently signed a deal with Yahoo Sports to support their March Madness fantasy tournament. Banchero, Duke’s top scorer, also has sponsorship deals with nBA2K, Panini Trading Cards and JD Sports, a British sportswear company.
The South Carolina All-American confirmed his first endorsement deal with Bojangles, a fast-food chain based in Charlotte, North Carolina and popular in the Carolinas, in August.
The center also has sponsorships with Crocs and Bose.