On July 1st, the world of college athletics changed for the better. At midnight, student athletes were able to sign endorsement deals with companies to earn money off their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). We saw a lot of brand deals (like Kool-Aid for example) but none with a professional sports team.
That is until the Florida Panthers saw an opportunity and jumped on it.
Earlier this summer, the team signed Miami Quarterback D’Eriq King as their first ‘FLA Athlete’. He became the first student-athlete to enter into a partnership with a professional team, and that was just the start. Today, the team expanded their FLA Athlete program by extending an offer to every eligible female student-athlete at FAU. As was the case with King’s deal, this was the first deal of its kind encompassing every female athlete under a single athletic department.
On top of this, the Panthers are partnering with the NIL marketplace program Dreamfield, which was co-founded by Quarterbacks McKenzie Milton and D’Eriq King.
Now what is a FLA Athlete you might ask?
Basically, FLA Athlete is another term for fan ambassador. They’re all invited to attend games and receive a t-shirt to support the team and their partnership as well. Along with attending games, they’ll also be sharing their experiences on social media as a way to engage their local fan bases.
I think this is a great move by the Panthers. From a national standpoint, they’ll continue to get articles written about them, which helps grow the brand. At a local level, this is huge for the team. A lot of these athletes have thousands of followers, and fans seeing their favorite players at Panthers games may encourage them to go to games themselves.
The Panthers have always struggled with attendance numbers, and I believe that the teams improvement on the ice and the utilization of their new FLA Athletes will lead to an increase in attendance over the next few years.
Until next time, we move 🤝
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