College quarterback's NIL compensation nears $4 million amid new NFT partnership

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers has launched an NFT campaign with Metabillia that will pay him a total of $1 million, Yahoo Finance has learned.

As a result, the 19-year-old's total compensation through name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals is now approaching the $4 million mark.

The average NIL quarterback sponsorship pays the athlete $2,466 per deal, according to Opendorse. Ewers's $1 million sponsorship is broken into 12 payments of various amounts well above the average on top of 50% revenue share.

“Our focus is to partner with young and upcoming athletes," Metabilia CEO Joe De Perio told Yahoo Finance. "It's well-documented Quinn is, if not number one in his [NFL] draft class, but pretty up there. I think his game is made for Sunday as well.”

College athletes were cleared to profit from their NIL on June 30, 2021, when the NCAA made the groundbreaking decision to approve an interim policy that would allow all student-athletes to profit from their NIL. Players can be paid for sponsorship appearances, social media posts, autographs, and even non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

There are currently 29 states that have passed their own NIL policies outside of the NCAA. The industry raked in an estimated $917 million in the first year of NIL, according to Opendorse, and is projected to break the billion-dollar mark in 2022.

'A great deal that we can finally get paid'

Ewers, who is expected to return from an injury on Saturday against rival Oklahoma, has been a flashy face in the space since he left high school a year early to attend Ohio State.

Ewers played his first season in Ohio, where NIL laws weren’t as stringent, and signed a $1.4 million deal with GT Sports Marketing. Since transferring to Texas, Ewers signed a six-figure deal to promote Wrangler jeans (KTB), among other partnerships.

Ewers’s NFT launch is centered on exclusivity. Supporters pay an initial membership fee, starting as low as $30 and as high as $500, to acquire access to future exclusive NFT drops and signed memorabilia.

NFTs have become popular in the space. Multiple industry experts have told Yahoo Finance that NFTs could play a big role in funding the NIL industry.

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers throws a pass during a game at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas on April 23, 2022. (Photo: Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK)
Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers throws a pass during a game at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas on April 23, 2022. (Photo: Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Like any other potentially valuable collector’s item, NFTs don’t have a set price. Although the broader NFT market has slumped amid crypto's decline this year, Texas fans can still funnel millions of dollars into Ewers's NFT knowing that 50% of the revenue will kick back to their star quarterback. Ewers will also receive 50% of any company revenue from secondary market activity.

"It's a way for fans to connect with the athlete,” De Perio said, “and for boosters to purchase NFTs on athletes they support.”

And since there’s no set value for the service and the NIL space as a whole lacks regulatory oversight, there’s no limit to how much Ewers or any other athlete could make off a project like this.

Through NFTs, boosters can pay as much as they want to support players. According to the press release from Metabilia, Ewers has already locked in a “six-figure plus” commitment from a prominent donor group to support the project.

“I think it’s awesome,” Ewers told KXAN-TV in Austin last month. “I think it’s a great deal that players are finally getting paid. You know all this hard work that we do with summer workouts, all this fall camp and film studies — I think it’s a great deal that we can finally get paid.”

Josh is a reporter and producer for Yahoo Finance.

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