Publish date:

NHL’s Panthers Reveal Plan to Get Involved with NIL Deals

The Panthers are the first NHL team, and they believe the first U.S. major pro sports team, to establish an opportunity for college athletes to align with them as part of recent rule changes that allow college athletes to profit off their name and celebrity.
USATSI_16142608

By Tim Reynolds

The Florida Panthers may soon be signing a quarterback. Or a center who plays basketball. Or a goalie who plays soccer.

It all makes sense.

The Panthers are the first NHL team, and they believe the first U.S. major pro sports team, to establish an opportunity for college athletes to align with them as part of recent rule changes that allow college athletes to profit off their name and celebrity.

Florida unveiled the plan Wednesday, starting the process of gauging interest from athletes who attend college nearest to where the Panthers play — primarily meaning Miami and Florida Atlantic.

“Right now, at the very least, we’re getting an understanding of who’s interested,” Panthers Chief Strategy Officer Sam Doerr said. “We’re really trying to understand what schools, who they are, what program, kind of their social media following and then we’ll internally set guidelines about who will qualify for the program.”

Doerr is hoping the Panthers can have some deals in place within the next four weeks. The team will value diversity, he said, and wants to ensure women’s athletes and those from Olympic sports are part of the program.

Final details on what will be involved are still being arranged, but the Panthers are for now planning to offer merchandise such as jerseys to the college athletes that get signed, along with the opportunity to earn money through a “pretty robust social media marketing campaign,” Doerr said.

“They’ll get paid probably per post or per campaign,” Doerr said. “They’ll benefit off of posting. It’s really taking the existing infrastructure of social media influencer marketing and extending it to college athletes, but using a pro team as an extension of that.”

There are no NCAA hockey teams in South Florida, but there are many schools with club teams. It remains unclear how, or if, the Panthers may be able to involve some of those players in its endorsement program.

“We’re plowing forward,” Doerr said. “I’ve already gotten a bunch of texts from folks at Miami saying they have kids interested. I’m sure we’ll see the same from FAU and some of the other schools. So far, so good, and we’ll see where it goes.”

TOP HEADLINES

Muzz
Play

Loss to Depleted Penguins Puts Current Maple Leafs' Resolve to Ultimate Test

The Toronto Maple Leafs were blown out by a Pittsburgh Penguins team playing without most of their core players, leaving more questions than answers.

Climate Pledge Arena
Play

Vince Dunn Scores First Goal at Climate Pledge Arena

With just 3.2 seconds remaining in the first period, Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn scored the first goal at the team's new rink, Climate Pledge Arena.

Adin Hill
Play

Adin Hill Has Risen to the Occasion So Far for San Jose

The 25-year-old goaltender has been a big piece of San Jose's early season success. Many believed he'd become a No. 1 guy somewhere, and the Sharks might be able to benefit from that in a big way.