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Hiral Patel, October 22 2021

NCAA QB Making a Splash in Hockey

Florida Panthers NIL Program

Source: Florida Panthers

The NHL offseason is where players get to cash in on teams looking to make improvements to their roster. While fans get excited for the new players joining their favourite teams on the ice, the Florida Panthers are making a splash in their agency by signing a - quarterback?

You read that right. The Florida Panthers signed University of Miami QB D’Eriq King as part of their FLA Athlete program, making King the first college athlete to sign a NIL agreement with a pro sports team. The program aims to provide NCAA athletes in Florida opportunities to work with the Panthers for promotional opportunities.

King, who has already signed at least 6 NIL deals with brands like Panini, will make in-person appearances and participate in digital programming with the Panthers, which will only add to King’s brand. With his own merch line, King has started to make a name for himself off the field - one can only imagine his social value if he goes on to have a successful pro career after college.

The Panthers aim to “reach and engage South Florida sports fans in new ways”, Chief Strategy Officer Sam Doerr explains. The Panthers notoriously rank near the bottom in NHL attendance yearly, and it’s refreshing to see the team make a bold move to hopefully bring more fans to their home games.

The Panthers hope to work with female athletes and Olympians as well through this program, tapping into the diversity of their audience by going beyond the traditional sports and college stars. For college athletes, this move hopes to start a movement across the country for pro sports franchises to support and invest in local talent. Teams have historically built development programs to create a pipeline for athletes to play for the teams, but it is refreshing to see platforms being launched to invest in marketing college athletes and growing their brands.

Published: August 13th, 2021 - Issue 4 of The Sport Marketeer

Written by

Hiral Patel

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