Caitlin Clark’s NIL Money From Deals Are the Talk of March Madness

Caitlin Clark

Getty Caitlin Clark is projected to be earning seven figures in NIL deals.

Few athletes have become as marketable as Caitlin Clark has during her stardom with the Iowa Hawkeyes. As with most athletes, Clark’s NIL deals are not made public, but projects the Iowa star’s value is worth $3.1 million.

Clark’s NIL deals include partnerships with major brands like Nike, State Farm, Gatorade, Panini America, Xfinity and Gainbridge. These projections have Clark with the highest NIL value of any women’s college basketball player with Angel Reese next in the rankings at $1.8 million.

The On3 projections have Clark with the fourth-highest NIL value just behind Bronny James, Shedeur Sanders and Livvy Dunne. The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Bachman reported that Clark is represented by Excel Sports Management, a company with a star-studded list of pro athletes.

“Clark is operating outside that system,” Bachman wrote in a February 16, 2024 story titled, “Caitlin Clark Has Scored 3,569 Points—and Taken $0 From Boosters.” “She has a stable of direct sponsorships including Nike, Gatorade and State Farm—where she’s a rare college athlete starring in TV ads alongside NBA players. She is represented by Excel Sports Management, which also counts as clients Peyton and Eli Manning, Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods.”

ESPN’s Wright Thompson noted that Clark earns “seven figures” while being one of the faces of women’s college basketball.

“She earns seven figures and has deals with Bose, Nike and State Farm,” Thompson explained in a March 20 article titled, “Caitlin Clark and Iowa find peace in the process.” “The Iowa grocery store chain Hy-Vee, another corporate partner, sometimes pays for her private security at public events.”

Caitlin Clark’s NIL Money Includes Deals With Nike, State Farm and Gatorade

The new NIL era in college athletics has allowed players to capitalize on their earning potential. Yet, it has also complicated how student-athletes are making money.

Athletes are permitted to earn money through endorsements and sponsorships while in college. Chances are you have seen Clark’s State Farm commercial during March Madness, just one of the many examples of the star capitalizing on her brand.

The more complicated part is athletes getting paid by collectives which are tied to universities. Clark is not permitted to earn a check from Iowa, but schools have worked around this rule by partnering with boosters who run the collectives. Swarm is Iowa’s main collective, and the organization revealed that Clark has not taken any money from the group during her time with the Hawkeyes.

“She hasn’t taken a dime from us yet, so I don’t know why she would next year,” Swarm CEO Brad Heinrichs told The Wall Street Journal. “Could she change course? Of course. I mean, we’d love to have her. We’d love to compensate her and do things through the Swarm for her. But she has her own thing, which is totally fine. That’s her prerogative.”

Caitlin Clark’s NIL Deals Will Follow the Star Into the WNBA as Endorsements

There has been some debate as to what Clark’s earning potential will be in the WNBA. Yet, Clark’s strong portfolio of national brands are expected to make the jump with the star to the WNBA.

Clark has become one of the most recognizable athletes in sports as her 1.2 million Instagram followers can attest. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert explained why Clark will not be losing money by leaving Iowa for the WNBA.

“It’s a bad narrative,” Engelbert detailed to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov for a March 8 feature titled, “The Caitlin Clark business is booming. Here’s how her WNBA sponsorships are lining up.” “Pre-Caitlin Clark, I’ve been trying to correct the media that NIL deals, when they’re national sponsors like Caitlin and Angel Reese and Cameron Brink, those are just called endorsements in the pros.

“I just find it funny that nobody ever said this about LeBron James, or Michael Jordan who made a lot more money with their endorsements than they did in their salary in the NBA,” Vorkunov continued. “Nobody ever said that. Now, all of a sudden, because it’s women’s sports, people are saying that. That’s absolutely untrue when you have these national brands.”