- Brandon and Jayden Beloti are brothers who played basketball for Elizabeth City State University.
- Each had a few hundred thousand followers on TikTok when new NIL rules came into effect on July 1, 2021.
- They were both making thousands of dollars a month through deals with brands like Meta and Manscaped.
Jayden Beloti once risked his NCAA eligibility for $50.
He said that when he was a high school student in 2020, a now-defunct brand that claimed it could give customers more defined abs by wearing his belt offered him $50 per video to post recommendations for the brand on TikTok.
He posted four videos about the brand and said he felt like he was “making bank” – until his older brother, Brandon, caught wind of the matter. Brandon told Jayden that high school athletes weren’t allowed to take advantage of sponsorship deals, at least not yet.
“I knew there were cases of athletes whose eligibility was compromised because of money, but I never really looked into it,” Jayden told Insider. “From then on, I started learning more about NIL. I didn’t accept any deals.”
The Beloti brothers played basketball in the 2021-22 season for Elizabeth City State University, an NCAA Division II HBCU. It was Brandon’s senior year in college and Jayden’s first season with the team – the conference went on to name Jayden the CIAA Conference Rookie of the Year.
The COVID-19 pandemic canceled their previous season together at ECSU, but it was during this lull that the Belotis built their following on TikTok.
With more free time, Jayden started posting more on TikTok, where he already had a following. He convinced his older brother in August 2020 to start posting videos as well. Brandon was in quarantine when his third TikTok went viral.
“I entered quarantine at the end of August 2020 and this video passed 1 million overnight,” Brandon said. “I went into quarantine with a hundred followers and I came out with about, I mean, close to 50 or 60,000 followers.”
The brothers’ TikTok followings helped them get NIL deals easily
The two brothers began to find a balance between being designers and their school and basketball lives.
By the time the NCAA released its new NIL rules on July 1, 2021, they both had more than 200,000 followers on TikTok, according to Social Blade.
Several brands pitched Brandon before the rule change, but he wouldn’t entertain them until the new rules go into effect to maintain NCAA eligibility.
“I started getting attention from brands and started getting offers for brand deals around April or May 2021,” Brandon said. “I was accepting offers and telling people, ‘I can’t accept anything until July 1,’ like a verbal acceptance.”
But, once July 1 rolled around, both brothers enjoyed their first year of NIL eligibility.
Jayden made at least $1,800 a month in his first year and said his income fluctuated depending on the size of the deals. He earned up to $508 in a month from the TikTok Creator Fund. His deals with brands started at $50 and reached $5,460 for five total posts on TikTok and Instagram. It has partnered with brands such as the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Ridge Wallet, and Manscaped.
The two brothers have also received deals to promote music for artists, either by syncing the lyrics to the lyrics or playing the relevant songs in the background of the videos.
Brandon earned around $4,000 a month in the 10 months leading up to his graduation, which included deals with The CW Network and Kroger. His offers ranged from free merchandise for a few hundred dollars up to $4,550 for two TikTok videos for a major audio equipment company. He was also a member of Meta’s Go-Lab 2.0 program, which is an athletic incubator that trained student-athletes to maximize their platforms while expanding the reach of HBCU athletes.
Insider verified Belotis earnings and sponsorship deals with documentation.
Jayden started earlier on TikTok and has more followers than his brother, but Brandon has benefited more from endorsements due to his HBCU pride. The older of the two said it was important to him to attend HBCU after being discriminated against at a former college.
At ECSU, Brandon caught the attention of Meta and The CW Network — two of his biggest partners — in part because he was open about his HBCU roots.
“Brandon embodies the type of student-athlete we were looking for for the Go Lab 2.0 program,” Omar Wilson, head of emerging industries at Meta, told Insider. “We also wanted to shine a light on the student-athletes of the smaller D-II HBCUs who are often overlooked in the mainstream media.”
The Beloti brothers are now focused on building designer careers with Zone 6
The two brothers have grown their viewership exponentially since the NIL rules came into effect.
Jayden has over 1.1 million followers on TikTok, 100,000 followers on Instagram and 38,000 subscribers on YouTube. Brandon has amassed over 800,000 followers on TikTok and 62,000 followers on Instagram.
But they don’t play college basketball anymore. In August 2021, they formed the Zone 6 basketball creator group with other creators including Cam Wilder and JDub. The group has a partnership with House of Highlights and aims to move into a designer house in Houston, Texas soon.
Brandon is now a full-time content creator and Jayden is in his third year at ECSU. He attended virtually last semester and said he plans to return to the team now that he is back to in-person classes.
He is happy to know that he would not have to give up his career as a designer if he decided to return to court.
“It’s good that we have that option now,” Jayden said. “Looking back, I feel like a lot of years have been wasted. But better late than never, because I promise you athletes now, if they didn’t make money, would be very upset. “