NIL Earning Power: College Football Top 10

College football is finally back in (almost) full swing. While recent months were marred with uncertainty for programs and conferences, athletes throughout the country have proven the power of their voice by promoting their return to play and supporting social justice issues throughout the difficult offseason. 

As the power of the student-athlete remains on display, it has become impossible not to imagine the opportunity that will face every athlete in 2021 – fundamental changes to Name, Image, and Likeness rights endorsement rules.

While every student-athlete stands to benefit, public interest has been largely focused on the All Americans, Heisman contenders, and social media superstars – those who have performed on-and-off the field to set themselves up to win from day-one with NIL. There’s no doubt that the all-world performers stand to benefit in a big way once the new rules are instituted. To better understand the opportunity facing prominent student-athletes in the near future, we took a deep-dive into the estimated earning potential of college football’s top performers. 

Below, we share how a decade of endorsement management experience has shaped our method to estimate NIL earning potential as it relates to an athlete’s social media performance, accolades, school, and more. 

A Market Rate From Real Experience

Opendorse began facilitating social media endorsement opportunities with professional athletes in 2012. Thousands of paid opportunities have been managed and published using our platform 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.

Potential Annual Earnings Calculation

Annual earnings are calculated by multiplying the athlete’s total per-post value with the estimated number of promotions per year the athlete could be expected to participate in. 

The number of promotions per year are calculated based on actual transaction data from the pro market as well, which has been translated to the collegiate market.

  • The athlete’s social presence impacts their value per post.
  • Their school and sport impact their promotions per year.
  • Their individual accomplishments and experience impact their promotions per year.

NIL Valuation: CFB Top-10

QB | Trevor Lawrence | Clemson

Instagram Post Value: $12.8 thousand
Twitter Post Value: $1.4 thousand

NIL Annual Earning Potential

QB | Justin Fields | Ohio State

Instagram Post Value: $11.8 thousand
Twitter Post Value: $1.7 thousand

Annual NIL Earning Potential

QB | Spencer Rattler | Oklahoma

Instagram Post Value: $6.9 thousand
Twitter Post Value: $498

Annual NIL Earning Potential

QB | Sam Ehlinger | Oklahoma

Instagram Post Value: $2,762
Twitter Post Value: $704

Annual NIL Earning Potential

DB | Bookie Radley-Hiles | Oklahoma

Instagram Post Value: $3,751
Twitter Post Value: $600

Annual NIL Earning Potential

RB | Najee Harris | Alabama

Instagram Post Value: $2,925
Twitter Post Value: $273

Annual NIL Earning Potential

WR | Jaylen Waddle | Alabama

Instagram Post Value: $1,973
Twitter Post Value: $189

Annual NIL Earning Potential

WR | DeVonta Smith | Alabama

Instagram Post Value: $1,751
Twitter Post Value: $121

Annual NIL Earning Potential

LB | Justin Flowe | Oregon

Instagram Post Value: $5,247
Twitter Post Value: $211

Annual NIL Earning Potential

DB | Derek Stingley Jr. | LSU

Instagram Post Value: 3,199
Twitter Post Value: $190

Annual NIL Earning Potential



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