University of Connecticut basketball star Paige Beuckers announced a new partnership Monday that’s sure to add to her buckets of cash off the court.
The reigning Naismith College Player of the Year is partnering with Cash App, the mobile payment service owned by Jack Dorsey’s Block (formerly Square), to help launch the Paige Bueckers Foundation. The foundation will be primarily focused on creating opportunities and promoting social justice, though specific details are yet to be revealed. Cash App will make a $100,000 Bitcoin donation and give away $100,000 in cash to supporters in $15 payments to promote the announcement. Other financial terms were not disclosed. Forbes Bueckers is still just a few deals away to reach the $1 million mark for endorsements, according to estimates.
“I know this deal isn’t like a super long-term contract,” Bueckers tells Forbes. “But I’m working with people and want to work with people who have the same values as me.”
This marks Bueckers’ third major partnership since the NCAA stripped down its regulations in July, allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. She signed with global e-commerce platform StockX in October and, one month later, became the first college athlete to join Gatorade’s ranks. In July, Bueckers trademarked the phrase “Paige Buckets,” which is the point guard’s nickname.
The Bueckers’ performance in the emerging NIL market could provide a glimpse into the opportunities for college athletes at the top. Based on her sprawling social media presence—Bueckers has more than one million followers between Twitter and Instagram—a study from research outlet AthleticDirectorU named her the most marketable athlete in college sports prior to the NCAA’s rule change.
“She is the best of the best, and these major brands want to leverage her appeal, particularly to a young and growing demographic,” Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business associate professor Tim Derdenger wrote in an email. “Her success will certainly spill over to other players.”
It has already. Last month, Gonzaga forward Chet Holmgren signed a deal Topps said that this was the largest deal it had ever made with a college athlete. Fresno State basketball team and TikTok stars Hanna Cavinder and Haley Cavinder recently participated in a TikTok event. cofounded a streetwear clothing company Additionally, partnerships were made with Boost Mobile, Champs Eastbay, WWE, Eastbay, and WWE.
Bueckers joins an impressive list of athletes that Cash App has signed up in the past few months. In November, Odell Beckham Jr. of the Los Angeles Rams and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers announced that they would be partnering with Cash App to receive part their salaries in Bitcoin. Andre Iguodala, a Golden State Warriors star, and Klay Thompson, a Golden State Warriors wide receiver, said they would do the exact same thing in January. At least ten North American-based professional athletes are using cryptocurrency as a topic of interest to investor athletes. taken part of their salaries or endorsement payments in any form of crypto.
“Obviously, I’m still learning a lot about it and trying to understand,” Bueckers says. “I just started understanding what to do with my tax money, so now I have to learn what to do with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.”
Bueckers, a native of Hopkins in Minnesota, arrived at UConn 2020 as the top-ranked American recruit and the 2019-20 Gatorade Female Athletic Athlete. Bueckers won several awards during her freshman year and led the heavily favored Huskies into the Final Four, where she was defeated by the University of Arizona. Bueckers resumed her sophomore campaign after she broke her left leg in the first half of her second campaign. She has been sidelined for the last two weeks. She expects to be back at the end February.
Bueckers is adding to her sponsorship portfolio and plans to continue using her platform to advocate racial equity. At the 2021 ESPYs, where she won the award for best college athlete in women’s sports, Bueckers used her speech to honor and celebrate Black women. She’s adamant about including BIPOC creatives in anything she does. “I grew up with everything, a roof over my head and food on my plate,” she says. “I want to help younger kids that weren’t as fortunate as me.”
This is just the beginning.
“The current set of offers is just the tip of the iceberg,” Derdenger says. “She has a lucrative future ahead of her.”