BOARDROOM SPOTLIGHT

Sedona Prince: Posting with Purpose

Prince became a TikTok star during the 2021 NCAA Tournament and now has NIL deals totaling half a million dollars.

Oregon women’s basketball player Sedona Prince posted a 37-second TikTok video in March 2021, showing the disparity between the men’s and women’s weight rooms during March Madness.

Her post went Viral with a capital V.

It was viewed more than 12 million times on the platform and more than 18 million times on Twitter, opening the NCAA up to renewed criticism on gender disparities and turning the then-20-year-old into a media star. The 6-foot-7 Prince was interviewed by The New York Times, CNN, Good Morning America, and numerous other national outlets. It helped her improve in front of the camera and grew her social media following, which now stands at more than 3.1 million on TikTok.

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When NIL laws went into effect that July 1, Prince was perfectly positioned to take advantage of the new landscape, allowing NCAA student-athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness.

On the one-year anniversary of NIL, Prince tells Boardroom that with the help of her representation at Wasserman, she’s made north of $500,000 across 18 different business and partnership deals, with no plans of slowing down. The now-22-year-old still has college eligibility remaining and will suit up for the Ducks in 2022-23.

“By the time NIL came around, I already had this massive following. I was already ahead of the game and was able to then capitalize off of that and really use NIL as a way to monetize,” Prince said. “But for me, it was bigger than that, something to show my purpose through these deals.”

While many student-athletes jumped on the first NIL deals they could find, Prince decided to take a slower, more measured approach. She said she’d received an NIL offer that would’ve been double her pro rookie salary, which helped open her eyes to how her overall brand was valued.

“No one would’ve known how much student-athletes are worth,” she said, if not for NIL. “It’s pretty insane.”

It was a balance for Prince, choosing brands and causes she truly likes, along with businesses she’ll have equity in and the chance to opine in social media strategy, where she’s proven she can excel.

Here’s a quick look at a few of her deals that she highlighted as being important, fun, and meaningful over the course of the last year:

  • Riff, a sustainable all-natural energy drink based in Bend, Oregon— a two-hour drive from campus in Eugene— gave Prince an equity-driven, multi-year partnership with a leadership role in creative direction. It includes monthly stipends, commission for driving new business, and an internship role to be filled by other student-athletes.

“Putting my knowledge and work into the company is so much more valuable,” she said. “I get to learn lessons while also making money on the back end.”

  • With Crocs, Prince forged a six-month partnership where she’ll promote the brand on social media with fans able to shop her favorite designs on the iconic clog company’s website. A portion of whatever is purchased on Prince’s page will go to her as commission.

“This is cool. This is funny,” she said of the deal. “This is something I would wear. It was important to me because it’s more than just the money of it.”

  • With Uninterrupted and Champs, Prince received six figures for a nine-episode series that featured her and guests discussing how NIL impacted them. Questions were also taken from high schoolers who had the opportunity to call in, while Prince also promoted an Uninterrupted-branded apparel line sold at Champs.

Other prior and ongoing NIL deals include those with TIAA, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Meta, H&R Block, Butterfinger, and Fortnite. With Meta, Prince was one of just ten athletes tabbed for that platform’s beta “IG Subscriptions” program, providing followers with exclusive access to content.

She has also been heavily involved in NFT launches and other campaigns with Division Street,  a venture aimed to help University of Oregon student-athletes create and monetize their personal brands.

“It’s a pretty fun experience getting to choose brands when they come to you,” Prince said. “I get to say, ‘What’s good? What do I resonate with?'”

(Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)

Prince started her TikTok account when she broke her leg and was unable to play basketball. Making TikToks brought out her creativity and allowed her to have fun on a new platform. She said that even without NIL, she’d still be creating content just for the joy she derives from it. Even though a lot of money is now involved, she said her roots are still as a creator.

“I think making people laugh, connecting people, telling stories that can help someone,” Prince said, “whether it’s the story of my leg, basketball, being queer, my childhood, just telling those things and helping people is all I want to do.”

Prince has always loved telling stories and sharing her journey with people. Just under 16 months ago, that journey took her to an NCAA Tournament weight room, and her life changed forever. With NIL now a year old, Prince has millions of social media followers, a strong stable of NIL deals that include equity stakes and a bright future ahead of her. All for doing what she loves and staying true to herself.

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