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Princeton Athletics announces launch of Opendorse NIL marketplace

alexis hiltunen
With over 250,000 followers across Instagram and Tiktok, women’s soccer senior forward Alexis Hiltunen has been able to capitalize on the new NIL landscape.
Photo courtesy of GoPrincetonTigers.

In 2021, the NCAA adopted a new policy allowing college athletes the opportunity to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL) after decades of advocacy and a favorable Supreme Court ruling.

Just two years later, companies can now scroll through the new Princeton Tigers Marketplace, where Princeton student-athletes can make custom profiles and set their desired prices for paid appearances, social media posts, video shoutouts, and more, as well as link their interests and accomplishments.


This marketplace opened after Princeton Athletics announced a partnership with Opendorse, a leading NIL platform, to launch a NIL marketplace for Princeton student-athletes. Potential brand partners, sponsors, and fans who want to align themselves with Princeton student-athletes can now reach out and make offers to student-athletes through the Opendorse app or website.

After the long-awaited NCAA rule change in July 2021, a billion-dollar market has since emerged. In just the first year of the live NIL market, estimates for how much was spent on NIL are as high as $917 million, and projected future expenditures are even higher. Opendorse now lists more than 100,000 athletes and allows them to profit from requests for anything from birthday shoutouts on social media and short personalized videos to endorsements, autographs, and event appearances.

The highest-paid athletes have been and likely will continue to be mostly football and basketball players at Power Five schools, but, in partnering with Opendorse, Princeton student-athletes are contending for a slice of the sizable pie.

With over 250,000 followers across Instagram and Tiktok, women’s soccer senior forward and social media influencer Alexis Hiltunen has been able to capitalize on the new NIL landscape and grow her personal brand. So far, she has done promotions with Reign Body Fuel, Fresh Beauty, and Grande Cosmetics, as well as several other health, beauty, nutrition, and fashion brands. 

While Hiltunen, who has partnered with Opendorse in the past, was active in the NIL space before Princeton’s partnership with Opendorse, she knows what the marketplace launch means for Princeton student-athletes and looks forward to mentoring younger teammates on the women’s soccer team as they try and make deals of their own.

“I’m grateful for the opportunities now available to other athletes,” Hiltunen told The Daily Princetonian. “Since the partnership, I’ve gotten a lot more exposure and a lot more [NIL] deals.” 


Hiltunen previously had to find deals for brands that she not only uses and believes in but that she also could get approved by Princeton and the NCAA. Opendorse makes this process much easier, streamlining the brand sponsorship process for student-athletes. 

“Opendorse is pretty cool because [deals] go straight to the compliance office, and they approve it, which is a whole lot easier,” Hiltunen told the ‘Prince.’

Due to another NCAA rule that University affiliates cannot facilitate nor arrange NIL opportunities for student-athletes, having the mediator of Opendorse allows the University to support athletes’ NIL aspirations.

“We needed to find a way to provide [NIL] opportunities for our student-athletes, even if we couldn’t directly facilitate them,” Senior Associate Athletics Director Greg Busch ’99 told the ‘Prince.’ “That’s how we first became aware of Opendorse … they provide a platform through which student-athletes can secure NIL deals.” 

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For Princeton student-athletes, many of whom could have had greater NIL opportunities had they chosen bigger market athletics programs, the partnership is far from insignificant. The Ivy League notably does not offer athletic scholarships, so some see NIL itself as a leveling of the playing field with regard to recruiting, as it offers student-athletes an alternative route to compensation. 

The marketplace opens the possibility that future recruits might view the NIL marketplace as a means by which to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics while receiving an Ivy League education and reducing the financial burden on themselves and their families.

For Busch and Princeton Athletics, however, the partnership is not about appealing to recruits. 

“Scholarship school or not, we have to find a way to engage our student-athletes in these kinds of opportunities,” Busch told the ‘Prince’ with regard to the partnership. “Yes, it’s a recruiting thing, it’s a student-athlete retention issue, but, more importantly, we’re just trying to do right by our student-athletes and give them every opportunity we can to work within the confines of the expanded NCAA rules and allow them the opportunities that other schools provide.” 

The Ivy League has maintained that there should be no recruiting inducements or promises made on the part of universities about NIL deals, according to Executive Director of the Ivy League Robin Harris, in an interview with Sports Illustrated at the time of the rule change. 

“The institution, our coaches, our athletic staff, and the university itself are not going to be involved in finding those opportunities or arranging them,” Harris said in the interview. 

Princeton joins Columbia as the only other Ivy League school to launch a NIL marketplace for its student-athletes, but Busch expects the rest of the conference will soon follow suit.

Diego Uribe is an associate Sports editor at the ‘Prince.’

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