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Published on April 19, 2024
FedEx Fuels University of Memphis Sports with $25 Million NIL Investment, Boosting Local Talent and Brand PresenceSource: Google Street View

In a strategic move to greatly invest in local talent and branding magic, FedEx is putting a cool $25 million into University of Memphis student-athletes' pockets. The logistics giant has inked a ground-breaking, five-year partnership to beef up the college's sports programs with some serious Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities.

With this action, FedEx is pinning itself to not just be Memphis' largest employer but also its biggest sports patron, set to generously fund $5 million annually into NIL deals for the next five years. This powerhouse investment will primarily bolster football, men's and women's basketball, and other women's sports, as reported by CBS Sports. FedEx EVP & CMO Brian Philips said they've made the decision "to reallocate marketing funds to an NIL platform," according to Local Memphis. Philips emphasized the initiative as a chance to "invest in bright, young athletes in our great hometown of Memphis, strengthening our connection to the next generation of leaders."

The first event showcasing this partnership is slated to kick off this Saturday with an in-person NIL function at the University of Memphis’ Spring Football Game, aiming to amplify the fan tailgate experience. More initiatives are on the docket for the year, including social media campaigns and FedEx Cares initiatives, a program the company is planning to use to further leverage student-athletes' influence.

University officials are hopeful about the future momentum the deal generates for its sports programs. "This groundbreaking commitment by one of the world's most well-known and successful companies will inspire others in Tiger Nation to realize the power of investing in student-athletes," Laird Veatch, University of Memphis vice president and director of Intercollegiate Athletics, expressed in a statement obtained by Action News 5. He also highlighted the essential role major corporate support like FedEx's will likely play in the future college athletics landscape. Memphis hopes to ride this wave of investment to up their game and reel in a spot in a power conference in the long run.

Amidst the backdrop of complex NCAA realignments and the sprawl of the College Football Playoff, thought leaders in the sports community are hailing this deal as a possible game-changer. FedEx's massive investment could just be the play Memphis needs to step up to the national spotlight and garner the sort of attention that comes with power conference inclusion.