In the era of college sports wages, women are emerging as big winners

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 6: Iowa State Protector Caitlin Clark, 22, raises her arms in an attempt to elicit crowd cheer during the Big Ten Tournament women’s college basketball game between the Indiana Hoosiers and Iowa Hawkeyes on March 6, 2022 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana . (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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LeBron James’ son Bronny has grabbed most of the headlines, but there’s another big story in the recent Nike NIL deal that allows college athletes to get paid. At a time when scrutiny of the pay gap between male and female athletes has increased, Nike deals show that college and amateur sports are emerging as winners in the early days of the NIL era.

said Patrick Richie, director of the Sports Business Program at the University of Washington.

The three female basketball players who signed the University of Iowa women’s basketball position, Caitlin Clark, Stanford University guard Haley Jones, and Sierra Canyon High School guard Jojo Watkins. nikeThe recently completed NIL deal, along with Sierra Canyon High School guard Bronny James and Camden High School guard DJ Wagner.

“I grew up watching Nike players in all sports play their game,” Clark said. “I’ve been inspired to work hard and make a difference. I am humbled to be a part of Nike’s first basketball class and am excited to inspire the next.” Nike Edition.

The success of women’s sports early in the NIL . era

Since the enactment of the NIL (name, image, and example) structure to allow amateur athletes to seek endorsement deals, which came in July 2021 after a landmark Supreme Court decision, the hope has been that female athletes will benefit greatly.

“I think most people knew that mathematics in particular would see great opportunities,” Rishi said.

After tracking deals from NIL implementation through September 30 of this year, women’s basketball is ranked third among NIL’s compensated sports, according to NIL Technology and Opendorse Marketplace. With a total of 12.6% of NIL’s compensation assigned to women’s basketball, the sport was behind only men’s basketball (18.9%) and football (49.6%).

Despite the large gap between payouts for soccer players and all other athletes, Opendorse data shows the potential for greater gains in women’s sports. Six women’s sports made the list of NIL’s top ten compensated sports, and women’s basketball, volleyball, and softball beat baseball, the third most profitable sports for men.

“The brands we work with are very vocal about saying that they want to make sure that there is full representation of the athletes they work with on a campaign. They specifically require diverse representation of athletes across multiple sports. [and] “Equal representation for men and women,” said Lisa Bregman, Senior Director of Market Success at Opendorse.

Nike that has Wide presence in the university sports tradeIt has invested more in the growth of the women’s apparel business through its university partnerships.

Both local and international brands see the potential to support college athletes, and even as lucrative deals with soccer players lead the way by a large margin – 12 players with deals worth over $1 million and 50 deals for players worth $500,000 or more, According to sports data company On3 – There is a growing number of companies that sign deals with none with math.

College basketball players in accordance with the NCAA ruling that allows them to take advantage of the funds

“We’re seeing more football and basketball players getting bigger deals that include cash payments,” said Rutgers University softball player Kayla Bock. But, she added, “there are those companies that are actively looking for women and looking for specific sports.”

Bock, and a total of eight female athletes, recently signed an NIL deal with New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco) honoring 50 Years Title IX, part of the 1972 Federal Department of Education amendments that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any school or other educational program It receives funding from the federal government.

None deals expand career opportunities for mathematics.

“A lot of these women don’t enjoy opportunities at a team sport level as their male counterparts do at a professional level. So, being able to monetize their brand, while they enjoy being seen in college, we hope to prepare them for several years later,” Rich said. . “That’s why it’s exciting to see, but not surprising to see a lot of undergraduate mathematicians cementing various and sometimes lucrative NIL deals.”

The presence of women on social media influences deals

Clarke is the 10th most profitable women’s basketball player, and Jones is 12th, according to the On3 “College Women’s Basketball Rankings NIL”. While Nike deals will likely help raise these players’ ratings, the onus also lies with the athletes to maintain their newfound fame.

“It creates a greater platform and greater motivation for any student-athlete who does the bargain of nothing, but especially [for] Mathematics, to hone, refine and perfect their brand.”

Signed NIL female athletes can make up for the lack of attention that women’s sports have historically received by focusing on expanding their social media following and engagement.

A 2021 study from the Pew Research Center found that women use 12% more social media than men, and companies are realizing this with more zero deals signed. Companies want to partner with student-athletes who can effectively market their brand knowing there is no better way to do this with younger generations through social media.

Excluding football, Opendorse found that female NIL-compensated female athletes participate in the social media activities of their deals 19.6% more than their male counterparts.

“Knowing that women tend to be more active and engaged on social media, knowing that these deals and the real opportunity to build their brands really exist in this field, really created an opportunity for female athletes to stand out,” Bregman said.

Whether it’s posting a photo of a new Liquid IV product or sharing its Adidas discount code with friends and family, Bock is enjoying the benefits of NIL deals, along with growing recognition for its athletic capabilities and women’s sports as a whole.

“Only the difference between [viewership for the] The Men’s College Baseball World Championships and the Women’s World College Softball World Championships, I mean, the women blew the men out of the water. So, in terms of just women’s sports in general, I think it’s becoming something bigger,” Bock said. We get the attention we’ve deserved all along. ”

The future impact on the college sports business

The Women’s Sports Foundation found in a recent study that even after the 50th anniversary of the passage of Act IX, girls still miss 1 million high school athletic opportunities and women miss 60,000 collegiate athletic opportunities. But the growing number of NIL women’s sports deals brings more interest and hope for continued growth in women’s sports compensation in the future.

“If these women succeed on the court, and succeed in building their brands off the court, especially through social media, they certainly have the potential to raise the bar for women’s basketball exposure and raise the bar,” Rich said of Nike’s deal with Clark. , Jones and Watkins. “The more student-athletes doing it for the women’s game, the more it could have an impact on going forward with corporate partnership deals and even media rights deals that women’s basketball can lead and the universities or individual schools these young women play in.”

Division I sports programs continue to spend nearly twice as much as their teams spend on men’s teams, according to a 2022 NCAA report titled “The State of Women in College Sports,” and Divisions Two and Three see similar, but less severe, gaps. The success of the NIL deal could influence colleges to begin allocating more funding to women’s sports.

“Women are going to have this new platform now that can be activated, and I think the impact of that is inevitably going to be more eyeballs on the sport they play,” Bregman said.

Female athletes are already doing their part to spread the message about the future of women in sport and as public figures.

“It’s our turn to continue paving the way for the generation to come after us, and that’s not just in sports, but in the classroom. With NIL deals, you can really touch on anything like that now,” Bock said.

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