Last Updated on March 9, 2023
A report from video platform Curastory ranked the digital presence of 634 student-athletes from 166 schools, showing a potential lucrative avenue for student athletes who want to monetize their NIL. With a focus on video content, the rankings took into account a number of criteria, including viewership, engagement, and content quality.
Alongside the report, which now receives about 200 downloads per day, the company recently partnered with Tempus Ex and the Pac-12 Conference last month. This agreement allows Pac-12 athletes access to video clips so they can share their own commentary to go with the game highlights.
All Pac-12 athletes now have access to Curastory, but it’s too early to say how many will take advantage of this opportunity to monetize their content.
In fact, founder and CEO of Curastory, Tiffany Kelly said that about 75% of athletes named in the report haven’t posted any sponsored content on their social media channels at all.
Demand for Video Content
With the advent of NIL, student-athletes could benefit greatly from video content creation across various social media sites. In a 2018 report by Cisco, it was predicted that internet video traffic would be 82% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2022, increasing 73% from 2017.
Fast forward four years later, Cisco’s predictions have been proven to be correct, as people are looking to video content more than ever. According to a report in August of 2022, global online video platforms make up 80% of total Internet traffic, and 60% of people said they consume these videos from a social media website.
Calculating the Cost
Each athletes’ earnings per video listed on the report was calculated based on the platform’s own pricing. The company’s base model is 30 cost per mille (CPM), which means for every 1,000 views a video receives, the creator makes $30.
For those on the report who are not partnered with the site, the number is an estimate based off of this model.
The student-athletes listed by Curastory should be able to take advantage of this new media landscape, and female athletes, in particular, have been dominating the social media video sphere. Women make up 85% of the report and 70% of the top 10 are female.
With such a high demand for video content, below a list of Curastory’s Top 10 student-athletes who could be the most successful in monetizing video content. Curastory declined to share which athletes are currently active on the platform, so the earning numbers below are estimates from Curastory based on their earnings model.
The 6’7′ redshirt junior of Oregon Women’s Basketball has been a pioneer in the NIL space and fighting for gender equality in sports. Despite having her collegiate career cut short before the 2022-2023 season due to a torn elbow ligament, Prince continues to produce video content and could earn an estaimted $89,936.34 per video. She also boasts 211,000 followers on Instagram and 2.8 million on TikTok, cementing her No. 1 spot in Curastory’s rankings.
The sophomore high jumper has an impressive following of 176,000 subscribers on YouTube, averaging a thousand views per video. Hurley also has a million followers on Instagram and 3.6 million on TikTok. The second-ranked member of the Texas Men’s Cross Country Track & Field team could bring in an estimated $39,030 per video.
The Olympic Gold Medalist and sophomore for Auburn Women’s Gymnastics dominates the individual all-around in her sport, and all-around the social media sphere. With a total earning potential of $22,778.64 per video, Lee has 1.7 million Instagram followers and 1.6 million on TikTok.
The senior for Cal’s Women’s Cross Country Track & Field and gold medalist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games is the fourth-ranked student-athlete by Curastory. Rogers has found success in international competition, representing Canada at the 2020 Summer Olympics, and on social media. Boasting 89,300 followers on Instagram and averaging 520,250 views on Reels, Rogers is projected to be able to make $15,607.50 per video.
An all-around gymnast for LSU, junior Elena Arenas has a strong presence on TikTok, boasting 243,900 followers and averaging 418,500 views. The 2021 SEC Vault Champion also has 130,000 followers on Instagram and could earn an estimated $15,036.75 per video.
The redshirt junior for Buffalo Softball has built quite a following on TikTok. All of her 48,700 followers watch as Williams cooks recipes geared toward student-athletes and meal-preps for her weeks. With a following of 1,455 on Instagram, the transfer from Fresno State could make an estimated $14,736 per video.
The 5’6 senior guard for Miami Women’s Basketball has built an impressive social media presence alongside her twin sister Hannah Cavinder. The pair host their own podcast, Twin Talk, and have had several student-athletes on the show, including LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne and Duke Basketball 5-star recruit Jared McCain. The duo also share Instagram and TikTok accounts that have a following of 127,000 and 4.3 million, and 83,600 subscribers on YouTube. Individually, Haley has her own following on Instagram and TikTok, could earn an estimated $11,160.78 per video.
The Freshman All-American for Texas A&M has made a name for himself in his first year of collegiate football and on social media. Being just the second male athlete in the top 10, the wide receiver boasts 2.1 million followers on TikTok, 258,000 on Instagram, and 3,590 subscribers on YouTube. The Texas native is projected to be able to make $11,145.48 per video.
The UCLA redshirt senior quarterback, like Stewart, has been able to build a following across various social media video platforms. With 645,200 followers on TikTok, 105,000 on Instagram, and 30,100 subscribers on YouTube, the honorable mention All-Pac-12 could earn an estimated $10,724.40 per video.