NIL on the Scoreboard Leads to Success for the Cavinder Twins

The college basketball and social media sensations have become rich by exploiting their name, image and likeness rights.

Published: May 10, 2023  |  

Academic Director of Graduate Programs in New York

Cavinder Twins

Haley and Hanna Cavinder are women’s basketball student-athletes who started their collegiate tenures at Fresno State University before moving to the University of Miami to continue their careers as Hurricanes. They obtained Name, Image and Likeness deals (NIL) with a wide variety of companies and most recently linked up with WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). The sisters have monetized their branding and have also started their own business by launching the Baseline Team clothing company.

The Cavinder twins have taken the sporting world by storm and their provocative social media presence has transcended the limits of student-athletes in women’s basketball by influencing fashion. Haley, with 689,000 Instagram followers, and Hanna, with 670,000, are two of the most popular collegiate athletes in the United States. As they transition away from college athletics to the real world, the possibilities for financially leveraging their NIL has led them to WWE as social media influencers and businesswomen.


The Cavinder twins are here to change the world

The world of college athletics has changed at a rapid pace since the inception of NIL for student-athletes in June 2021. They can now monetize their brands and achieve commercial fame and fortune. The Cavinders have contracts with Boost Mobile, Champs Sports, Raising Canes, Intuit Turbotax, Under Armour, Crocs, Core Hydration, PSD Underwear, Six Star Pro Nutrition and Cactus AI.

College athletes are no longer synonymous with impoverished students. Their ability to cash in on their image provides them with an outlet that provides financial fortune for those bold enough to break the mold of past limitations.

Due in large part to their success on the basketball court at Miami—the team had a run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 round this year—the twins have attracted more than 4.4 million followers on the social media platform TikTok. It is estimated that they have earned more than $2 million from NIL deals in 2022, and the opportunities for growth in 2023 are limitless.


Blending fame and fortune

According to Forbes, the Cavinder twins have aligned their brand with companies that suit student-athletes. Their relationship with Turbo Tax is a no-brainer as tax education is one of the most nuanced components of the student-athlete experience. Individuals who accept NIL deals must be aware of the tax implications of their new fame and fortune. This deal provides an entry point for those combining education with additional funding for their personal bank accounts. Tax education is necessary, and this opportunity to leverage effective branding with a market need has made the twins the face of NIL.

Everett Sports Management orchestrated an additional deal with Victoria’s Secret Pink, leading to additional financial opportunities never before experienced by collegiate athletes. The twins are opening doors for female student-athletes and becoming mainstream megastars in the age of social media. In essence, the Cavinder twins are trendsetting the future of women student-athletes and also providing a blueprint for fiscal responsibility.


Understanding the NIL marketplace

NIL brand value and roster value are the main metrics for understanding the breadth and depth of opportunities for student-athletes to maximize their income. While brand value measures the national average of opportunities for sponsorship, endorsement, and licensing, the roster value index measures the collective number of deals available in the market. These two variables provide the information needed for student-athletes to navigate the landscape and map out opportunities successfully. 

The major categories of exposure, influence and performance are used as the barometer to project a valuation of a student athlete’s potential in the NIL marketplace. This type of information is a necessity in business, and the Cavinder twins are operating at a level that allows them to chart a future that has not been available before.


The future for the Cavinder twins

In the past, NCAA athletes were amateurs who had many limitations on their ability to maximize their branding. Now they have the chance to make the most of lucrative opportunities in the open market. The Cavinders have made the choice to end their time in college to begin careers as wrestlers for the WWE. Without NIL, their ability to “own” their financial development would have been prohibited by NCAA restrictions. NIL has provided them with a platform and the ability to maximize their career opportunities.

They can achieve financial security and approach the future as entrepreneurs rather than being what the author William C. Rhoden called “$40 million slaves.” Exploiting their name, image and likeness rights has afforded the twins a unique opportunity to become professionals in a system that was designed to restrict their earning potential.

I applaud the Cavinder twins and hope more student-athletes take the leap and exploit their NIL from a vantage point that provides opportunities for them to take risks and be true to their authentic selves. In the end, what is the worst that could happen? 

The Cavinders will leave behind their college experiences with a nest egg of financial stability and move to the world of WWE. If it doesn’t work, they will still be millionaires.

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