With the recent changes in name, image, likeness (NIL) regulation within the NCAA, many fans are curious to know what their favorite athletes would begin advertising. Olivia Dunne, an LSU gymnast, seemed to be at the forefront of the conversation regarding the NIL change.
Dunne boasts the title of the most followed collegiate athlete on social media, with around 5 million followers across all platforms. This large following ensured that the athlete would have no trouble finding brands interested in partnering with her. Markets projected Dunne to be one of the student-athletes who would benefit the most from the NCAA’s new relaxed regulations on collegiate athletes monetizing their name, image and likeness.
Following the rule change from August 2020, Dunne stated in an interview that she was excited to “meet with creators and collaborators.” She stayed persistent on “finding a brand to work with, that is authentic to her own values.” With not much more information, fans waited patiently to see what the young athlete would begin endorsing.
About two months after the compensation allowance, Dunne finally announced that she accepted a deal with the activewear brand Vuori. The partnership requires Dunne’s participation with a handful of marketing initiatives for the company over the next two years. In an interview with Forbes, Dunne explained that this participation includes “promotional photoshoots, social media takeovers, as well as both in-person and virtual events.”
When the California–based brand released the news, they were excited to welcome the LSU gymnast because she "exemplifies a new era of Vuori ... [Dunnes’] athletic prowess, determination and positivity perfectly represents the values of the brand,” Nikki Sakelliou, the vice-president of marketing for Vuori said. “From her astonishing talents and determination as a gymnast to the positivity she spreads on social media, Livvy is a wonderful representation of the mindset we at Vuori aim to inspire.”
A source close to the deal told Forbes that this partnership is a “mid-six-figure payday for Dunne." Many speculate that Dunne will be the first collegiate athlete to reach a net worth of $1 million, solely from NIL deals and social media.
As of now, the initial announcement of the partnership is only advertising the brand that Dunne has produced. Because the deal is new, fans will most likely see more from Dunne endorsing Vuori soon.
“Fashion has always been a huge passion of mine,” Dunne said in a news release. “Before college, my coach and I would design my own custom leotards for all my major competitions. I love expressing myself through my style, and I fell in love with Vuori because I thought their clothes looked and felt amazing. I couldn’t be more proud that my first brand partnership is with them.”
As for future NIL deals, Dunne has no real insight as to what those may entail. “I’m kind of just going with the flow,” Dunne said. “It’s very exciting.”