The NIL Store, a platform for college athletes to sell their officially licensed merchandise, has exceeded the $1 million mark in athlete payouts.
The NIL Store was opened in August 2021, just a month after the name, image, and likeness legislation went into effect. Incoming University of Illinois freshman guard Brandin Podziemsk, who eventually went on to get drafted by the Golden State Warriors, became the first athlete to sign a deal with the NIL Store. Once Podziemsk became a partner college athlete, Illinois’ NIL marketplace became the inaugural store within the company’s school network, which now encompasses over 40 institutions.
The platform has since collaborated with several other collegiate stars, including LSU’s Angel Reese, UConn’s Paige Bueckers, and Purdue’s Zach Edey.
“Our vision from day one at the NIL Store was clear: to forge an ecosystem where every college athlete can effortlessly unlock their true value, said Adam Cook, VP of Campus Ink Sports. “This achievement is more than a number; it’s a testament to an unwavering commitment and the limitless potential of the athletes we serve. We’re so excited to celebrate this landmark victory with customers, fans, institutional partners, and athletes, knowing it’s the first of many in our journey towards empowering the spirit of collegiate sports.”
Additionally, other Fighting Illini basketball players, like center Kofi Cockburn, benefited from the early days of the market. Cockburn partnered with the marketplace to launch his signature “King Kofi” gold crown merchandise, as a nod to his home country of Jamaica.
The NIL Store’s notoriety continued to grow and ultimately attract the attention of entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban. Cuban’s investment came with a mission: to expand the NIL Store to work with all college athletes, not just those who receive the bulk of the national spotlight — further supporting the belief that NIL is truly for all athletes.
“It’s great to see campus ink returning so much to student-athletes,” Cuban said. “$1 million is an amazing milestone.”
In 2024, the company is looking to build on its success of having over 40 stores and 9,000 partner athletes nationwide. The NIL Store is off to a great start, having just secured a partnership with The Original Retro Brand, a vintage clothing company.