NIL Earning Potential of Ohio State Football Student-Athletes

“What are my tweets worth?”

It’s the question every student-athlete is — and should be — asking. As changes to name, image, and likeness rights monetization near, the opportunity and value associated with social media only becomes more clear. 

While social won’t be the only avenue for student-athletes to earn NIL related income, it does present one of the most natural opportunities. Importantly, social media fits the preliminary NIL guidelines laid out by the NCAA and associated working groups. Transactions between athletes and brands already require transparency by FTC guidelines and these activations are typically passive or at least lightweight for the athletes involved. Managed properly, social media opportunities will not detract from the athletic or academic experience of college athletes.

Just as importantly, social media is familiar. It’s already actively used organically by the huge majority of student-athletes. They have seen the opportunity available to their peers and teammates once their eligibility is exhausted. Additionally, there are non-athletes on every college campus in America who are earning additional income as social media influencers through their personal Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook channels. 

Student-athletes know the opportunity is there — and many have already begun to build an audience that sponsors and advertisers will find valuable.

A Market Rate From Real Experience

Opendorse began facilitating and publishing paid social media posts from professional athletes on behalf of brands in 2012. Thousands of paid opportunities have flowed through our software in the eight years since. These deals have involved thousands of athletes representing dozens of sports and leagues, with opportunities coming from brands ranging from the largest sponsors in sports to local businesses.

We have used nearly of decade of social media and payment data to establish a formula that offers a true market rate — an accurate assessment of what any given athlete can command for a single branded post.  

Value Per Post Calculation:

Estimated Value per Post is calculated using the cost per thousand followers (CPR), cost per engagement (CPE), and cost per thousand impressions (CPM) from thousands of paid posts published via Opendorse since 2012. 

The calculation factors in the athlete’s sport, status, current follower count, average engagement rate per post, impressions per post, and additional proprietary data points to provide an estimate of the dollar amount the athlete could command from sponsors in exchange for publishing one branded content post on their own social media channels.

Ohio State Football: NIL Earning Power

Ohio State began building its status as a premier student-athlete brand building program in 2018 with the launch of Brand U. With a combination of on-field success and personal brand development, Ohio State has lived up to the reputation.

The Buckeyes produced four of the top 25 players with the highest social media earning potential selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. And if early returns continue, look for the current class to do the same.

To share a snapshot of the incoming opportunity available to student-athletes, we analyzed the athletes with the highest per post value and total earning potential on the Ohio State offense.

NIL Earning Power: Ohio State Offense





IG followers


IG post value


Twitter followers


Twitter post value


Est annual potential earnings

Justin Fields
Garrett Wilson
Chris Olave
Jaelen Gill
Master Teague
Josh Myers
Wyatt Davis
Luke Farrell
Thayer Munford
Harry Miller
Nicholas Petit-Frere

Preparing for Name, Image, and Likeness

The Ohio State offense is led in earning power by All American and Heisman favorite Justin Fields. Fields ranks near the top of all college athletes in terms of NIL earning potential.

While Fields is an outlier, look for more Buckeyes to climb in post value and potential earnings as they receive added recognition and exposure as the college football season nears. 

Beyond media exposure, we expect to see more and more student-athletes, Buckeyes included, double down on their social media efforts as the opportunity with changes to name, image, and likeness rights and monetization becomes more clear. 

In just months, these athletes and their programs will have to have an answer to the question: “So, what are my tweets worth?”




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