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$2M in NIL Deals Up For Grabs In New Season Men’s College Basketball Tournament

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The landscape of college athletics is undergoing a seismic shift, fueled by the advent of name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights. As student-athletes gain the ability to monetize their personal brands, a groundbreaking event is set to take center stage: the Players Era—a first-of-its-kind men’s college basketball tournament.

The Players Era: A Game-Changer

Scheduled to launch this fall, the Players Era tournament promises to be a game-changer for college basketball. Here are the key details:

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Tournament Format: The inaugural tournament will feature an eight-team field competing at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas. Starting in 2025, the tournament will expand to include 16 teams.

NIL Deals: What sets the Players Era apart is its commitment to NIL deals. Each participating school will receive a total of $1 million in NIL money. This financial boost will come from sponsors and other tournament partners.

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Operated by EverWonder Studio: The tournament will be operated by EverWonder Studio, founded by former Time president Ian Orefice and backed by RedBird IMI and Jeff Zucker. While distribution details are still being worked out, EverWonder is in talks with both linear and streaming-based broadcasters.

Distribution of Funds: Money received by participating schools will be distributed to the collectives, boosters, or other NIL entities associated with each team. Coaches will then have the discretion to allocate the funds as they see fit.

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Winner’s Bonus: The winning team will receive an additional $1 million in NIL prize money. Just like the initial $1 million, this bonus will be subject to the team’s coaches’ discretion.

NBA Comparison: While the concept is unique to college basketball, it bears some similarity to the NBA’s In-Season Tournament, which awarded prize money to members of the championship-winning team in Las Vegas.

Perks for Teams: As a sweetener, each participating team will enjoy free travel, lodging, and meals during the tournament.

The Teams in Contention

Several prominent teams are in discussions to participate in the Players Era tournament. Among them are:

  • Duke
  • FAU
  • Houston
  • Kansas
  • Oregon
  • San Diego State
  • St. Joseph’s
  • Syracuse
  • Virginia

A New Era Begins

The Players Era represents a bold step toward empowering college athletes and recognizing their value beyond the court. As the tournament unfolds, fans, players, and coaches alike will witness the intersection of sports, business, and individual rights—a thrilling chapter in the ever-evolving saga of college basketball.

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Bishal Roy
Bishal Roy
Bishal has been working with several renowned publications and has generated sports content for 3+ years. He expresses insightful opinions and analysis having the expertise in writing sports news articles. He has been mainly covering US sports such as NFL, NBA, MLB and more for the website. He also writes for SportsIndiaShow and MMA India. When not writing, he will binge-watch web series.
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