Olivia Dunne Apr 15, 2023; Fort Worth, TX, USA; LSU Tigers gymnast Olivia Dunne practices on floor routine with her team during the NCAA Women’s National Gymnastics Tournament Championship at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last month, Prime Video announced a new documentary focusing on LSU athletics during the 2023-24 academic year.

That documentary, The Money Game will focus on LSU’s relationship with NIL. An Amazon release on that called it “a historic turning point in the NCAA upon policy changes on name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights—guaranteed to shape the trajectory of college sports forever—highlighted by the surreal experiences of LSU’s top players, coaches, and administrators.”

The LSU athletes who will be featured include gymnast Olivia Dunne, Final Four Most Outstanding Player Angel Reese, SEC Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Year Flau’jae Johnson, and Heisman winner Jayden Daniels.

As per On3’s valuation, Dunne, Reese, and Johnson are considered the highest-valued NIL women’s athletes, while Daniels was ranked fourth among college football players.

The Money Game is being produced by Campfire Studios, Axios Entertainment, and Jersey Legends, a production company founded by Shaquille O’Neal, an LSU alumnus.

Campfire Film & TV secured exclusive rights to produce an NIL-themed documentary about LSU athletes for $1 million, according to Sportico. While athletes participating in the series will receive payment under the guise of “NIL compensation,” the contract clarifies that LSU employees, like head coach Brian Kelly, won’t get a cut from the production company.

This marks a departure from past documentary deals involving universities. It also highlights the shift in power in college sports towards athlete autonomy and away from conflicts of interest due to NIL.

Sportico reports the agreement states that Campfire “will provide a contract for each student-athlete involved in the series outlining their responsibilities and compensation for their participation.”

With the NCAA’s tight restrictions on universities influencing athletes’ NIL deals, Campfire faced the same murky waters they portrayed in their documentary. In simpler terms, both parties had to get creative within the NCAA’s limitations to secure athlete involvement, highlighting the complexities of the evolving NIL landscape.

This unique position should allow the documentary to illuminate the creative workarounds of athletes and production companies, potentially sparking crucial conversations about reforming or clarifying NIL rules for a more transparent and equitable future.

According to Cody Worsham, the school’s associate AD of NIL & strategic initiatives and chief brand officer, LSU considered offers from six to eight production companies over the past two years before finalizing a deal with Campfire.

“We wanted great financial terms, great partners, someone we trusted, someone we shared a similar vision for what the story would be,” Worsham told Sportico. “And then when Shaq got involved in the back end of this, there was [an added] sense of comfort and trust. It is a full-circle moment … NIL is ingrained to what LSU does, and it goes back to Shaq. He was one of the first college athletes to brand himself.”

This upcoming NIL documentary featuring LSU appears like it could potentially be a valuable resource for examining the impact of NIL on college sports, particularly around athlete compensation and the challenges of navigating a complex regulatory landscape. It’ll be interesting to see just how much student-athletes are compensated under the guise of NIL for their appearance in this documentary and whether that’ll signal more things to come.


About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.