Miami Hurricanes QB D’Eriq King Joins Florida Panthers NIL Program in Groundbreaking Agreement
D’Eriq King signed with the Florida Panthers to the NHL.
On Monday, the Miami Hurricanes quarterback became the first collegiate athlete to sign a deal with a major American professional sports team, which will allow him to enjoy his name, image and likeness.
“We are delighted to welcome D’Eriq to Panthers territory as the first ‘FLA athlete’,” said Sam Doerr, director of team strategy. “D’Eriq is a superstar both on and off the field and we are excited to reach and engage South Florida sports fans in new ways through this collaborative partnership.”
Under the terms of the deal, King is expected to appear at Panthers games and events and will work with the team to develop his own exclusive franchise item, which will be available at the BB&T Center.
King will also work with the Panthers to design a collection of merchandise and work with the team’s digital and social media teams to produce content that engages South Florida fans.
“He’s definitely a huge fan of fashion and designing things that we think our fans will relate to,” Doerr said. “Frankly, a younger look at some of our products might speak to new fans for us.”
On July 1, the door opened for varsity athletes to sign Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) contracts for the first time. Days later, American Top Team, a chain of Florida-based mixed martial arts gyms, announced it would offer sponsorship opportunities to members of the Hurricanes football team.
It was then that the bulb lit up for Doerr.
“I said, ‘Look at this. It is a professional gymnasium, which has professional fighters. This is something we can do. Let’s do it. ‘
“The key is that this is a marketing and endorsement deal, not a traditional contract. It’s a brand that makes a deal, no different from a Nike or Adidas that makes a deal with an athlete.
Service to the community is a key part of the Panthers’ business model. The possibility of sponsoring local athletes fits perfectly with this mission.
Back in May, Doerr saw how much the Panthers fan base enjoyed Miami football when head coach Manny Diaz played in one of the team’s home playoff games.
“Seeing the way the crowd reacted to him, that’s when I thought the college sports scene and the college landscape and, in particular, football in the South is a big factor. in, maybe, some things we can do. “
As a top player who could grab a share of the domestic spotlight in the upcoming college football season, King was appealing as a potential partner. He had also shown a readiness to leap into the waters of nothingness, quickly closing deals with companies such as College Hunks Moving Company, Murphy Auto Group, Dreamfield, The Wharf, and Panini America.
“You have to make sure that an athlete is reliable and will represent your brand in the right way,” Doerr said. “D’Eriq ticks all the boxes and a lot of the credit goes to him. He’s a very well established individual and he was on board. He wanted to do something different. He wanted to be a pioneer.
Doerr says the next step in the FLA athlete program is to bring a female athlete on board and amplify the Panthers’ TikTok game.
“We are in the process of identifying who it is and closing the deal,” Doerr said. “We think we can reach a different demographic, and we have to reach a different demographic.
“Obviously TikTok has become quite popular and it’s a channel that we’re probably not running as well as we could be. It’s a pretty big designer market here, so it’s something that we want to look at, tap into, and support.
Because NIL programs are so new, the weeds must be cut before a clear path emerges for athletes and sponsors. As that starts to happen, Doerr is hoping the Panthers can recruit many more athletes.
“They might not be that well-known, but we want to be involved with as many local athletes who want to be involved with the Panthers and schools who want to be involved with the Panthers,” he said. “We are working on a kind of macro-influencer type program.
“We want these first two to be done and done right. Then you’ll start to see us probably expanding our footprint a bit more. Achieve different sports, in different schools, in the community. “