- Presumptive No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence will join the Gatorade team in a multiyear deal.
- Marketing experts say he is expected to earn top dollar and is one of most marketable athletes of his generation.
- Lawrence is expected to be drafted on Thursday by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It's about to get real for star-studded quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The 21-year-old presumptive No. 1 NFL draft pick announced Friday he has signed his first endorsement deal — with Gatorade.
The Clemson quarterback, who is expected to be drafted on Thursday by the Jacksonville Jaguars, has signed a multiyear deal with the sports drink company and will be part of their marketing efforts and national campaigns.
Lawrence is the first quarterback to sign with Gatorade since Cam Newton and joins other young rising stars such as Fernando Tatis Jr., Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum and Mallory Pugh also with the brand. Exact terms of the detail were not disclosed.
"It has been a staple in my sports journey since I was a kid, so I couldn't be more excited to join the brand," Lawrence told CNBC. "I don't just look at the financial aspects of it, but do I really fit with companies? ... I always have to ask myself, 'Is this me?' So Gatorade was an easy choice," he said.
Lawrence said his taste for Gatorade has gone back years. At Clemson, he used its protein products to build muscle and maintain his weight. He said his favorite flavor of Gatorade is Berry Rain.
"We want to work with athletes who are leaders among their peers, committed to performance and authentic users of our products," said Jeff Kearney, Gatorade global head of sports marketing. "Trevor is all of those things, and with his help we hope to inspire and fuel the next generation of athletes."
Gatorade dominates the U.S. sports drink category, holding a 72% market share of retail sales, according to Euromonitor. Coke's Powerade is number two with 16% share.
Lawrence holds great appeal to brands, according to marketing experts.
"He has a proven track record, he isn't shy, and isn't afraid to take a stand on issues," said Joe Favorito, sports marketing consultant and professor at Columbia University.
During his three year career at Clemson, Lawrence led the Tigers to a national championship, was a Heisman runner-up, was 34-2 as a starter and adored by fans.
Favorito said when it comes to athlete endorsers, Lawrence reminds him a lot of a former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
"He wasn't Joe Namath when he came to New York, you know, loud and boastful, he let his athletics do the talking and then figured out how to be a great brand marketer," Favorito said.
Fans in Jacksonville area are already embracing the quarterback, buying him and his wife wedding gifts and donating to their favorite charities.
Lawrence said despite the big payday coming up, not much will change for him and he's not planning any big splurges. His focus remains on football, and his first goal is earning the respect of his teammates.
"It's really just not changing anything, just being who I am," he said. "Making sure money doesn't ever change me. It won't, but honestly I'm not too concerned with it [the money]."
He said he has financial advisors to make sure his savings are well accounted for but he still plans to be involved.
"If I'm going to have money invested in something or in a few different things, I want to know what's going on and be educated," he said. The Tigers star said he's kept a watchful eye on his colleagues starting NFTs and he's be open to it in the future.
"I definitely think there is a future in that and it will be cool to see that unfold," he added.
When it comes to social media, Lawrence has the highest earning potential among draft prospects, according to athlete marketing firm Opendorse. He can expect to earn millions more over the course of his career via social media alone. Opendorse said he has the ability to command $10,000 per tweet or $50,000 per Instagram post.
In addition to Gatorade, Lawrence is expected to sign an apparel deal with Adidas, joining the ranks of Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers, who are also Adidas endorsers.
The only thing that could stand in his way long term: winning.
"The downside of course is, he's going to a place that is rebuilding but that's nothing he can control and that's nothing a brand can control," said Favorito. "It's very rare that you will see an athlete be unbelievably successful for the long run if they don't perform well on the field."