Caitlin Clark lands a major multiyear deal with Gatorade
The GIST: Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark is setting on-court records for points, assists, and free throws, but she’s also thriving off the court. Clark is climbing the NIL leaderboard after landing a major multiyear deal with Gatorade yesterday, adding to her illustrious brand portfolio. Stacking paper.
The brand: The prominent sports drink brand boasts a selective college roster: Clark is only one of four NCAA athletes on Team Gatorade and the second women’s basketball star — UConn’s Paige Bueckers signed with the brand in 2021.
- Clark’s deal includes a $22K donation to her namesake foundation, a charitable gift reminiscent of the $100K donation the company made in Candace Parker’s honor this September.
- Gatorade has built its brand on empowering high school athletes, including sending a Las Vegas girls’ basketball team to watch the 2023 WNBA Finals. It makes sense that Clark would come full-circle with the brand: she was Iowa’s 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year.
The portfolio: There’s no senioritis in store for Clark, who ranks fourth in women’s basketball NIL valuation with a $777K estimated annual value before the Gatorade deal. But her brand is quickly proving to be as elite as her game — she was the first NCAA athlete to sign with State Farm, and she’s already been tapped to represent premium brands like Nike, Buick, Topps, and H&R Block.
- Buick, a longtime NCAA partner, stepped into the women’s March Madness spotlight last year with its “See Her Greatness” campaign featuring Clark and four fellow NCAA athletes. Topps offered its first Iowa trading cards with Clark’s likeness, while her H&R Block deal was part of a new brand initiative to invest in college women athletes. Putting on a clinic.
The trend: While male-dominated NIL valuations seem to endorse a troubling pattern, that’s changing quickly thanks to high-profile stars like Clark. The top seven athletes who signed the most new NIL deals in 2023 were women, and female athletes report much higher engagement.
- Clark is a testament to this — she’s No. 44 in NIL valuations, yet her 1.1M total followers outpace several higher-earning male athletes.