Deestroying’s YouTube Channel Cost Him His D1 Kicker Scholarship, He’s Now Earning More Than Most NFL Kickers

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Source: Deestroying, Photo Credit Justin Jerrod

When Deestroying was wrapping up a YouTube video with Antonio Brown a bunch of kids came running up wanting to take a photo – not with the Super Bowl champ but with the YouTuber right next to him.

Deestroying aka De La Haye is a football YouTuber who gets millions of views and is popular for his ‘1 ON 1 for $10,000’ videos. He partnered with NFL to announce their YouTube Sunday Ticket and has collabed with footballers like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquette King, Cam Newton, and Tyreek Hill on his channel. However, five years ago he was forced to choose YouTube as he had to sacrifice his dream of being a pro athlete.

In 2017, Deestroying aka De La Haye’s was a kicker for the University of Central Florida and he was warned about his YouTube videos. His channel showed his life as a student-athlete, football-centered skits, and training highlights. NCAA at that time forbade student-athletes from profiting off their names, images, and likenesses, aside from their scholarships. When Dee refused to remove monetization from his channel, NCAA ruled him ineligible and he lost his scholarship.

Since then Dee’s YouTube channel has blown up, on a slow month YouTube’s ad revenue pays him about $100,000. The most he has made on YouTube is $400,000 in a month, which is about $200,000 shy of the NFL’s base season salary for kickers. YouTube’s ad revenue is one of many ways Dee gets his bag, he gets paid through brand partnerships which range from $30,000 to $50,000 per video for someone with over 5 million subscribers. On top of that, he collects partnership fees for being in marketing campaigns such as the NFL Sunday ticket and XFL’s launch event. He also has his apparel line, where he sells out sports entertainment, and lifestyle-centered products.

Five years ago, when he had to choose between his college football career and YouTube, he was only getting paid a couple thousand dollars every month on YouTube, but he went with it anyway.

For a sport focused brand that is looking for a face to sell its products with, it makes a lot more sense to collab with an influencer than an athlete behind a helmet. Once every season the NFL leans on Nickelodeon’s corny animations to try and market to a younger demo – a quick audience research would show you that kids stopped watching TV a long time ago and this branding only appeals to millennials’ nostalgia, cute but mission unaccomplished.

WWE, a franchise in decline, signed Logan Paul not just as a fighter but also as a chief content officer in an effort to get younger eyeballs. Most of Logan’s YouTube videos are in the 3-15 million range whereas WWE’s flagship RAW has struggled to cross 2 million in Q1 2023.

Sports consumption is changing rapidly within the key demo. Franchises know that they have the die-hard fans in a chokehold. However, to market to the casual watcher, it makes a lot more sense to leverage a YouTuber who knows how to tell stories than tap some O-lineman no one could name.

Dee spent his whole childhood romanticizing the career of an NFL player, but thanks to the internet he now makes more at a job that didn’t exist when he started pursuing it.

Written by Sagnik Basu

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