NIL Athletes Are Young, Gifted, Black And Bankable In $1.1 Billion Market

By Stephone Coward

  • Bronny James sits atop the NIL list at $5.1M, followed by Mikey Williams and Bryce Young at $2.6M and $1.8M respectively  
  • 9 out of the top 10 NIL athletes are Black with the market set to reach $1.14B

Black is beautiful, Black is bold and Black Name, Image & Likeness (NIL) athletes have become very bankable. This NIL era ushered in a new wave of big business, as the first year reached a total of $917 million. So just how much money are these young Black athletes raking in?

Why This Matters: Now that these young athletes are more in control, the year two projections for the NIL market see it reaching $1.14 billion and On3 has capitalized on the way to have it rooted in data. This group created the On3 NIL 100 list, which ranks the top 25 most valuable high school and college students. They have come up with a base valuation for these athletes taking into account “the number of followers on each social media platform an athlete has” and “marketing dollars that brands and advertisers typically spend on each.” 

Black sports stars are dominating the NIL market with 9 out of the top 10 athletes on the latest list from this demographic. Bronny James, LeBron James’ son, sits atop the list at $5.1 million, followed by Mikey Williams and Bryce Young at $2.6 million and $1.8 million respectively.  

Until recently, corporations had made billions of dollars from the NIL of Black faces in high athletic places. A 2019 poll revealed 89% of varsity NCAA athletes feel taken advantage of by the organization. That same poll found that 43% of those surveyed agree that the NCAA has been exploiting these athletes.

Situational Awareness: There is a well-documented history of calling the NCAA out for profiting off student-athletes’ talent and likeness, while hoarding the coins à la Scrooge McDuck. However, there are HBCU athletes such as Jackson State University football stars Travis Hunter, along with Shilo, and Shedeur Sanders who were able to cash in with Actively Black, the global sportswear brand. 

CBX Vibe:Young, Gifted and Black” Jay-Z

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