UConn's Paige Bueckers has name, image, likeness deal

After a successful freshman season at UConn's Huskies point guard Paige Bueckers signed her first name, image, and likeness endorsement deal with StockX, a multiyear partnership that will see her work with the footwear and apparel marketplace platform StockX for the next five years.
According to a spokesperson for StockX, the reigning 2021 John Wooden award winner -- the first female freshman to win the award since 1976 -- will be "the centerpiece" StockX's new focus on women's basketball.

Bueckers stated that StockX's partnership was about authenticity and equity. It's about the product I love, and it's about highlighting all the creatives who drive culture. Together with StockX, I want to celebrate them.

StockX was launched in 2016 and features over 125,000 products from more than 500 brands. StockX saw a $1.8 billion increase in sales in 2020, compared to $1 billion in 2019.

According to the company, sales of women's sneakers "outpaced" the overall market by 80% in 2019. There has been a rise in the number of lifestyle and retro sneakers worn by women over the years.

StockX announced in April its latest round funding. This has resulted in a valuation of $3.8Billion. The terms of the Bueckers partnership weren't disclosed.

Deena Bahri (StockX chief marketing officer) stated that "we're committed to providing an opportunity for female athletes not only to showcase their personal style and interests but also to connect with their communities."

Bueckers is not only a great player on the court but she has over 914,000 Instagram followers and 341,000 TikTok followers. She's frequently seen showing off her off-court style.

Although the NCAA's updated name, image, and likeness guidelines took effect July 1, UConn's athletic department did not announce its NIL policy until July 12.

In Connecticut's Public Act 21132, the state also established guidelines for college athletes on how to make money.

In particular, all team games and activities must be attended by athletes who still have to wear Nike products. UConn has been a prominent "elite" NCAA school for the Swoosh since its inception. Bueckers wore the Nike Kyrie 7 exclusively for their team throughout Buecker's freshman year.

UConn's athletics department reached an agreement with Opendorse, a social media insight company, to provide student-athletes resources, education, and marketing tools about potential NIL deals in this new environment. Opendorse had previously estimated Bueckers’ NIL value at $382,000 annually during last spring's NCAA Tournament.

Bueckers chose the Wasserman agency, long-standing WNBA agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas, to represent her in all NIL negotiations. This led to the multiyear StockX partnership. Further talks are ongoing with several companies, and more announcements are expected to be made throughout the season.

StockX will collect and share extensive data throughout the partnership in order to support the idea that women athletes can spark interest and sales for global partners.

Only nine women have been awarded their own signature shoes in the WNBA's 25 year history. Breanna Stewart, a Seattle Storm player, has signed with Puma in a deal also negotiated through Wasserman. She will be the 10th woman to release her signature shoe in the upcoming WNBA season 2022.

Bueckers has been a rising star for brands. She can be a prominent footwear endorser in college, and then during her WNBA career as a potential No. 1 player. Bueckers was drafted as the No. 1. It is common for the industry to assume that a signature shoe will be required in order to sign Bueckers once she turns professional.

She is however not eligible to join the WNBA draft before 2023, as the league has a rule that draft entrants must be at least 22 years of age during the year the draft takes places.

Wasserman applied to trademark the phrase "Paige Buckets" in early August. StockX will allow Bueckers to design limited-edition products on the DropX portal. These products could be made by third-party brands and collaborators, or could feature her Paige Buckets name.

Bueckers will place a strong emphasis on community-driven initiatives, and highlight Black women and BIPOC creators in future projects. She thanked Black women for their contributions to basketball and the sport's culture when she accepted the 2021 ESPY Women's Collegiate Athletic Athlete Award.

StockX CMO Bahri said that Paige isn’t afraid to speak up for what she believes and advocate for change. This is in perfect alignment with our cultural values of being committed to what's right, and building a legacy. We are excited to spotlight this rising star and be a part of her journey as she drives impact on the court and off.

Bueckers will have access to all brands on the platform, including limited-edition apparel and footwear for the duration of the agreement. StockX was her first official photoshoot. She rotated between Nike, New Balance and the Essentials line of Adidas-associated Jerry Lorenzo.

As Bueckers starts her professional career in 2023, she is expected to continue wearing a variety brands during her collegiate career.