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UConn superstar Paige Bueckers is one of the most well-known athletes in college sports today.
That fame translates directly to her money-making potential now that we've entered the NIL era.
Bueckers is thought to make $63K per social media post — more than the top 9 men's players in the Sweet 16 combined.
Paige Bueckers is getting paid.
The superstar UConn Huskies point guard — who may very well be the most famous college athlete in the country at present — has taken full advantage of recent legislation that allows NCAA stars to make money off of their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). She's inked lucrative deals with Gatorade, Cash App, and StockX, in addition to filing a trademark for "Paige Buckets" — presumably to create her own line of merchandise.
But social media marketing may be her biggest cash cow of all. With 968,000 followers on Instagram, 3.6 million likes on TikTok, and an additional 65,000 followers on Twitter at the time of this article's publication, she has as powerful a social media influence as anyone else in college sports.
According to Axios Sports' recent analysis of NIL data from Opendorse, Bueckers is thought to be the highest social media earner of all the college basketball stars competing in the Sweet 16 of this year's men's and women's NCAA tournaments. Just one social media post from the 20-year-old Minnesota native is estimated to be worth a whopping $62,900.
Not a bad payday in exchange for the push of a button.
Cinderella superstars like Saint Peters' Doug Edert and soon-to-be NBA lottery picks, such as Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero, don't even come close to matching Bueckers' earning potential. In fact, her massive social media valuation is so far ahead of the rest of the field, a single post from the reigning National Player of the Year is worth more than a post from each of the nine highest social media earners still playing on the men's bracket combined.
—Kendall Baker (@kendallbaker) March 24, 2022
On her own, Bueckers is silencing the skeptics who argued that NIL would actively harm female athletes should it come to fruition. But she's not the only star on the women's side raking it in.
Louisville Cardinals star Hailey Van Lith is next on the list of top earners at $44,200 per social media post, and 11 of the top 20 are women. And according to Opendorse, women's basketball players have earned 18.5% of all NIL compensation — behind only football players but ahead of every other sport's athletes, including men's basketball players.
Bueckers next takes the court Saturday at 2 p.m. ET as UConn faces the No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers in the Bridgeport region, on ESPN.
Read the original article on Insider