12 Massive NIL Deals in 2021
These are some of the largest and most groundbreaking NIL deals from the first six months of NIL.
By Rion Martin on
1. The Mercedes Benz EQS Brand Ambassador Program
To get the word out about its new EQS electric vehicle, Mercedes Benz engaged college athletes for a variety of promotional activities including meet and greets.
The deal is notable for taking a different approach than a traditional advertising or social media campaign.
To date, the deal has featured deals with star athletes including UCLA’s Mac May, St. John’s Julian Champagnie and Jeff Sims.
2. The Degree Breaking Limits Program
With a reported $5 million earmarked for the program, Degree partnered with 19 athletes in 2021—each of which was individually selected for their personal story of overcoming adversity.
The program is intended to inspire and support those encountering barriers to overcome what’s holding them back with the help of role models (like college athletes), tools, and resources.
Image Source: Degree
3. The $1.4 Million GT Sports Marketing Deal With Quinn Ewers
The #1 high school prospect in the country, QB Quinn Ewers, skipped his senior year of high school and enrolled early at Ohio State in order to cash in on NIL deals.
His largest deal was for $1.4 million over three years to provide autographs for GT Sports Marketing.
This massive deal is particularly noteworthy because it was signed before Ewers ever stepped foot on the field as an Ohio State player.
4. The WWE Next in Line Program
Beyond its high-profile deal with Gable Stevenson (below), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) also launched its Next in Line program with an initial roster of 15 athletes.
Image Source: WWE
The program provides access to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, as well as resources for brand building, media training, communications, live events and more.
And once the program is finished, athletes may get the opportunity to secure a WWE contract.
5. Paige Bueckers, First College Athlete For Gatorade
Gatorade is synonymous with sports and has been endorsed by elite pro athletes like Serena Williams, Dwayne Wade, and Lionel Messi.
On November 29, 2021, Paige Bueckers joined their ranks and became the first-ever college athlete to be signed by Gatorade for an endorsement deal.
Image Source: Nick DePaula
6. Dr. Pepper’s Fansville Ad Featuring D.J. Uiagalelei
Most notable for its speed to market, Dr. Pepper released a commercial featuring D.J. Uiagalelei less than 60 days after NIL rules went into effect.
7. The McKenzie Milton NFT
Released just five days after the NIL rules took effect, McKenzie Milton’s NFT was one of the first to hit the market.
College player NFTs are being viewed as the ultimate rookie cards for future pro players and will likely become staples of the NIL industry.
8. The Gable Stevenson WWE Contract (Plus Training Facility)
University of Minnesota senior and Olympic gold medalist Gable Stevenson signed a NIL deal with the WWE that allows him to defend his national title while training for his pro career.
9. Kool-Aid And Ga’Quincy ‘Kool-Aid’ McKinstry
In an obvious—but still clever move—Kool-Aid signed a deal with Alabama’s Ga’Quincy ‘Kool-Aid’ McKinstry.
The deal was noteworthy due to the massive amount of earned media value the brand was able to generate by being early to the NIL game and the simplicity of the approach.
10. Kayvon Thibodeaux’s Cryptocurrency for Good
Oregon superstar Kayvon Thibodeaux made NIL history as the first college athlete to create his own cryptocurrency, which he calls $JREAM.
The cryptocurrency is used to fund The JREAM Foundation—a non-profit that aims to educate, mentor, empower and instill confidence into underprivileged youth.
Image Source: rally
11. The MaximBet Statewide Deal for Female Athletes
Even though most states still prohibit deals with companies that are involved with gambling, sports-betting company MaximBet found an exception in the state of Colorado.
The company offered a NIL deal to every female athlete in Colorado, across all three NCAA divisions.
Image Source: MaximBet
12. Rival QBs Milton and King Co-Found Dreamfield
Florida State QB McKenzie Milton and Miami QB D’Eriq King became business partners off the field when co-founding the NIL deal-making platform Dreamfield.
The platform connects athletes to companies for marketing and business opportunities while also handling contracts, payments, and compliance.
Image Source: Decrypt
Looking to 2022
The NIL space is still new and these are standout campaigns from just the first six months. Expect this list to be much larger in 2022. Contact Dreamfield Today to get Started!