Gold’s Gym launched plans this week for a campaign featuring student-athletes targeted at a younger demographic. And more than 45 college athletes participated in a recent marketing campaign for McDonald‘s franchises located in and around the Atlantic Coast Conference‘s footprint. The Chicago White Sox decided to spend dollars on NIL for a second consecutive year, too.
All of this plays against the backdrop of administrators pushing for federal legislation on Capitol Hill. Companies are not slowed down by those efforts, though. The NIL market is only expanding.
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Let’s get to the deals that highlighted this week in NIL.
LSU’s Angel Reese joins 2023 SI Swimsuit
Angel Reese has become one of the most marketable college athletes following this spring’s national title run. Now she will appear in this year’s SI Swimsuit edition next to LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne, who was announced as part of the magazine last month.
LSU will have two athletes featured in this year’s edition of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, which is set to release May 18. They are the first two college athletes to ever appear in the swimsuit issue.
“We’ve done so much within a year,” Reese told SI. “We weren’t even supposed to be in the Final Four. We had nine new players, and it was coach [Kim Mulkey]’s second year in the SEC, so we didn’t know what to expect.”
Landing two athletes on the cover shows the success LSU has had in the NIL space across the past 22 months. Dunne is the most followed college athlete in the country. And maybe nobody else has seen their off-court profile rise like Reese.
A Maryland transfer, she immediately made LSU a national title contender in her first year in Baton Rouge. Her profile started to rise, too. Nicknamed the “Bayou Barbie” for her on-court demeanor and eyelash extensions and long pink nails, Reese has embraced college athletics’ NIL era. She filed to trademark the nickname and has been openly campaign for a partnership with the Mattel toy company.
Averaging a double-double on the court this past season, she signed endorsement deals with Bose, Coach and Sonic. The list has only grown following the national title, as her social media following has jumped to more than four million followers.
Reese is represented by Jeanine Ogbonnaya. The 6-foot-3 forward has seen her On3 NIL Valuation rise in unison with her social media following. Entering March Madness, Angel Reese had a $371,000 On3 NIL Valuation. Her valuation now is $1.4 million, which is the top-ranked women’s basketball valuation.
Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik signs with Fred Caldwell Chevrolet
Cade Klubnik has joined the club of college football players to enter into a car deal. The unquestioned Clemson starting quarterback has signed with Fred Caldwell Chevrolet, the dealership confirmed to On3 on Monday after the former five-star recruit in the 2022 cycle announced the news in an Instagram post.
Over the last two years, the Clover, South Carolina, based Chevrolet dealer has worked closely with Bryan Bresee. With the defensive tackle drafted in the first round of last month’s NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints, Fred Caldwell Chevrolet general manager Martin McKinley knew he would need to find a new partner if he wanted to continue his NIL program.
Klubnik was a no brainer. He was tapped as Clemson’s starting quarterback in the ACC Championship Game after spending most of last season behind DJ Uiagalelei. Coming off the bench late in the first quarter, he led the Tigers to a conference title throwing for 279 yards and a touchdown.
“I actually had Bryan Bresee in a truck for the last two years,” McKinley said. “When he decided to go pro, I had already developed a relationship with Cade’s representation. So I thought that was pretty easy. I’m a Clemson grad. I pay my IPTAY dollars. I just try to support my school. It’s more than that than anything for me.”
McKinley said he has already seen his return on investment through Klubnik’s promotion on social media. Since the quarterback posted about his new truck, the photo has been liked more than 20,500 times. The quarterback directly tagged Fred Caldwell in the caption, too. He holds a $335,000 On3 NIL Valuation, which ranks in the top 125 of college football. His valuation is ranked third on the Clemson football team.
With NIL playing a factor in some recruitments, prospects can easily view Klubnik’s new car on social media and see the possibilities.
“If it helps them recruit, that’s great,” McKinley said. “I would never go to a high school and offer them a car to try to get them to go to Clemson or anything like that.”
Colorado’s Travis Hunter adds NIL deal with WaterLand Co.
Travis Hunter has long documented his love for fishing across his social media channels. Now the Colorado cornerback is finding NIL deals centered around his hobby. Hunter announced a partnership Thursday afternoon with WaterLand Co. on Instagram. Known for its premium polarized fishing sunglasses, the former On3 Five-Star Plus+ prospect is seen with a fish in his hands while wearing the sunglasses.
The tinted glasses provide fishers the capability to see underwater objects without noticing the water. According to the website, the action of a fish swimming over a bed beneath a tree can be seen thanks to product. Known for its ambassadorship programs with Bassmaster Elite Series members, the company has now expanded to college football.
“On the football field and on the water, our guy Travis Hunter gets the job done,” WaterLand wrote in the Instagram caption.
The former No. 2 recruit in the country has found plenty of NIL success. He signed a multi-year deal with digital banking platform Greenwood back in July. Since then he has aligned with brands like Celsius Drink, the Michael Strahan Brand, Actively Black and SoHoodie.
Hunter has a $1.7 million On3 NIL Valuation, which ranks No. 3 in the college football NIL rankings.
White Sox return to NIL, add eight athletes to CHISOX Athlete roster
The Chicago White Sox have returned to NIL after launching its first marketing campaign with college athletes a year ago.
The Major League Baseball club announced Wednesday the signing of eight new college athletes to contracts as part of its CHISOX Athlete NIL program. The initiative was created “to help empower student-athletes, their voices and careers both on and off the field,” the White Sox wrote on Twitter.
Sticking to its roots, each athlete the White Sox signed has ties to the Windy City. The second wave of CHISOX Athletes includes:
Minnesota receiver Chris Autman-Bell of Kankakee, IllinoisIllinois-Chicago midfielder Yulexi Diaz of ChicagoNotre Dame goalie and punter Bryan Dowd of Willow Springs, IllinoisBall State outside hitter Addie Halverson of Spring Grove, IllinoisNorthwestern striker Bridget Mitchell of Lake Forest, IllinoisWisconsin guard Brooke Schramek of Naperville, IllinoisMichigan State gymnast Skyla Schulte of Bolingbrook, IllinoisNebraska guard Ahron Ulis of Chicago Heights, Illinois
As part of the deal, the athletes have branding opportunities with financial incentives for social media promotion. The organization plans on welcoming them to a game in a private suite. They’ll also have access to professional resources and career mentorship from the White Sox front office.
Other perks for the CHISOX Athletes include a professional photoshoot at Guaranteed Rate Field or nearby Chicagoland sports venue, a custom White Sox jersey, additional ChiSox Athlete-branded merchandise and special opportunities at the ballpark such as throwing out the first pitch.
Garrett Nussmeier opted not to enter his name into the transfer portal this spring. This week he signed with Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys.The USC-focused House of Victory collective announced contracts with Tackett Curtis, Zachariah Branch and Zion Branch this week. Canes Connection continues to be a leader in the NIL collective space in Miami, signing Jahfari Harvey, Jared Harrison-Hunte and Brashard Smith. The hair brand Hally announced partnerships with softball players Jaiden Fields, Kiki Milloy and Karlyn Pickens. Each athlete wore school-branded clothing in their social media posts. Clemson lacrosse player Sofia Chepenik agreed to a NIL deal with Loot Mogul. The deal, brokered by Addison Sports & Entertainment, is believed to the largest endorsement deal in women’s lacrosse.Hoosiers For Good, a charity-based NIL collective officially partnered with Indiana athletics, facilitated deals between 24 athletes and 10 local charities as part of its 2023 spring class. It is Hoosiers For Good’s largest single class to date. The deals included key Indiana football transfers such as Jacob Mangum-Farrar, Andison Coby, Jamier Johnson, Kobee Minor, Myles Jackson, Lanell Carr and Josh Henderson.Bo Nix will host a youth football camp on July 15 at North Eugene High School. Tickets cost $125.
The post NIL Deals of the Week: Cade Klubnik lands truck, White Sox return to NIL appeared first on On3.