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LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne, who checks in with over 1.1 million Instagram followers and 3.9 million TikTok followers, might end up being the biggest winner in the Name, Image, Likeness sweepstakes that officially went into law across over a dozen states at midnight Thursday morning.
And Dunne was sitting there, ready to cash in without jeopardizing her college scholarship. “NIL rules change tomorrow… let’s get to work,” Dunne tweeted Wednesday, knowing she was about to make a life-changing fortune when the clock struck midnight.
Sports business reporter Darren Rovell has predicted that Dunne could sign deals this week worth $100k, but that appears to be a very low estimate. Rovell soon corrected his estimate and went up to the million-dollar level for Dunne. We’re talking about an athlete who walked onto campus for the first time with a social media following that was second only to Shaq’s son. What’s all that worth?
Benjamin Oduro, a talent booker with International Talent Agency LLC, tells WBRZ in Baton Rouge the money for athletes like Dunne could pile up fast. “I’ve seen contracts around $150,000 for two tweets a week for a year, but I’ve also seen clients receive around $1,500 per tweet,” Oduro told the station.
Dunne’s money won’t be made on Twitter, where her following is under 10,000, but that’s not the channel where a college sophomore makes the real money, especially at LSU where there’s precedent for big-time TikTok earners. Addison Rae Easterling made headlines in 2019 when the LSU freshman hit one million TikTok followers and the rest is history. Forbes says Easterling then went to work doing sponsored posts for Fasion Nova, an online women’s clothing store, and soon left school for a social media career in Los Angeles. Now Easterling is a spokesperson for American Eagle and she’s estimated to have earnings of $5 million a year.
That’s why Olivia Dunne just might end up on top of the earnings leaderboard when all is said and done during year one of the NIL sweepstakes. She just needs that one brand that wants to jump on the social influencer train, and she’s an instant millionaire.
But with all that money comes the need for accountants, lawyers who understand the new laws (the schools are expected to cover this angle) and a management team to keep all of this straight. Dunne will also be responsible for her taxes, making sure she goes to class and makes it to practice. Or perhaps she competes for another year and goes the Easterling route and leaves school to turn pro in social media while the money is pouring in.
The Wild West of Name, Image, Likeness is upon us, and the money is about to fly. This is going to be insane.