Louisiana‘s premiere sports power couple made an appearance at the state’s most famous sports venue on Sunday.
LSU gymnast and Instagram sensation Olivia Dunne was joined by boyfriend, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect and former Tigers pitcher Paul Skenes at the Superdome, where the New Orleans Saints fell to the visiting Detroit Lions, 33-28.
Although Dunne has made millions from endorsement deals during her college career in nearby Baton Rouge, the 21-year-old New Jersey native admitted she’d never been to an NFL game. As she wrote on Instagram: ‘First NFL game everrr!’
Skenes and Dunne were not alone in the luxury suite. The smiling couple was joined by one of Skenes’ former college teammates, relief pitcher Clay Moffitt, and his wife, Brooke.
The group appeared to be seated in a luxury suite, which shouldn’t come as a surprise: Skenes got a record $9.2 million signing bonus after being drafted first overall by the Pirates in July, while Dunne ranks third in NIL earnings among college athletes at $3.3 million, according to On3.com, and she’s been the subject of two Sports Illustrated photoshoots.
From left to right: Ex-LSU pitcher Clay Moffitt, his wife Brooke, Olivia Dunne and Paul Skenes
Dunne continues to promote her recent Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue photo shoot
Dunne was attending her first Saints game despite her years living in nearby Baton Rouge
Dunne teased the upcoming photo spread on Instagram with a bikini shot on Sunday. According to the post, the pictures were taken in Porto, Portugal.
She was announced as a swimsuit issue rookie last month and shared a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot, where she expressed her amazement at receiving the honor.
‘Coming back for Year 2, I mean, last year I said it was a dream come true, and nothing’s changed,’ she said.
‘It’s still a dream come true. I can’t believe I can call myself a rookie. It feels unreal.’
The announcement came as Dunne was also listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list for sporting figures, with the publication estimating she has made around $2.3million in endorsement deals in the last 12 months.
It represents another big moment in what has been a whirlwind year for Dunne, who has seen her level of fame spiral massively.
She has had to permanently switch to online classes at LSU due to her massive popularity.
She told Elle: ‘There were some scares in the past, and I just want to be as careful as possible. I don’t want people to know my daily schedule and where I am.’
The 21-year-old gymnast Dunne headed to Portugal for her second Sports Illustrated shoot
Dunne attended her first NFL game Sunday, but she and Skenes have watched LSU football
LSU’s first gymnastics meet of 2023 was attended by raucous – and youthful – male fans attended to get a glimpse of Dunne; chanting and reportedly propositioning other gymnasts.
‘It was our first meet of the season,’ Dunne told Elle. ‘I knew that my success had grown from the years prior, but I did not expect there to be that many people out there to see me and my team.
‘I didn’t really realize until after the meet when I saw the videos of it. I was like, ‘Holy moly.’
LSU gymnastics resultantly hired a bodyguard to protect her, and the team, from hoards of screaming teenage fans who were amassing at her meets.
Skenes, meanwhile, was impressive in his first foray into professional baseball.
After guiding the Tigers to a College World Series win, Skenes pitched at three different minor-league levels in 2023.
While he didn’t concede an earned run in Rookie ball or at Single-A, he was shaking in two innings for Double-A Altoona, giving up four earned runs.
Regardless, Skenes currently ranks third on MLB.com’s list of the top-100 prospects.
The pair were rumored to be together for months, but did not publicly confirm their relationship until August, when Skenes admitted he intentionally keeps social media off his phone to avoid reading about himself and Dunne.
‘I wasn’t on it during the season because it’s toxic,’ Skenes told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. ‘When you see something positive about you or something negative, it doesn’t matter. There’s no substance to it. It can’t help.’