In 2020, Deion Sanders joined Jackson State University on a four-year deal worth $1.2 million and went on to build a championship-winning side. Per his contract, he earned an average of $300,000 per year.
Fondly called Coach Prime, Sanders now coaches the University of Colorado and he is credited with building a winning football side in the institution.
His success at Colorado is not only limited to the field but off-field activities as well. His economic impact pays tribute to his work ethic. His success at the institution has brought $17 million to the city of Boulder’s economy with each sold-out home game, according to Forbes, citing Visit Boulder Convention of Visitors Bureau’s estimates.
The Daily Mail reported that the city of Boulder made the money as the Colorado Buffaloes attracted a sold-out crowd of 53,241 fans to their home opener against the rival Nebraska Cornhuskers. Aside from winning by 36-14, Colorado enjoyed its largest crowd at a football game in 15 years.
Indeed, the Buffaloes have sold out all home games for the 2023 season, marking the first time in school history the program has sold out a season. Besides selling out their home-opening win over Nebraska and last weekend’s win against Colorado State, upcoming matchups against USC, Stanford and Oregon State have also been sold out. And this is largely thanks to Sanders, who has been working hard to improve a program that has not won more than five games since 2016.
His presence, according to Forbes, is driving commerce, from tickets to hotel rooms and from celebrities to restaurants and merch.
“With Coach Prime, the Colorado Buffaloes aren’t just a football team; they mean something far more now. They symbolize something more than a geography or institution. They are now embodying everything Coach Prime himself stands for. Or, better said, they now symbolize what Coach Prime ‘stands in’ for: confidence,” Forbes reported.
The platform added that everything he associates himself with, becomes a success, including his sunglasses which he gifted to his players.
The USA Today in a publication described Sanders as the most famous college coach ever. His fame exists on a different level because he has been part of mainstream popular culture for 35 years in ways that penetrated outside his career as a pro athlete, according to the platform. He was featured in Pizza Hut, Pepsi, and Nike commercials in the early 1990s. Not only that, he has also appeared in rap music videos and hosted a Miss USA pageant.
All in all, USA Today attributes his success to maintaining cultural ubiquity, writing that the coach has not revealed much more about himself than what is necessary to fuel the Prime persona.
Sanders was a multisport star in high school before earning a scholarship to Florida State University, where he was a member of the school’s football, baseball, and track teams. He became considered as the only person to have played in both a Super Bowl and a World Series.