D’Eriq King might be the richest QB in the entire country in regards to college quarterbacks by the time he actually steps on the field.
The University of Miami quarterback became the first collegiate athlete to sign an NIL agreement with a professional sports team after partnering with the Florida Panthers. The deal was announced on Monday with the creation of “FLA Athlete,” a program that will give student-athletes the ability to profit from their names, images and likenesses.
King will appear at the team’s games and develop a merchandise collection.
“We are thrilled to welcome D’Eriq to Panthers Territory as our first FLA Athlete,” said Panthers chief strategy officer Sam Doerr. “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.”
“The whole NIL thing, I think it’s really good for college football,” King said last month at ACC media days. “My thing was work with good companies. You can’t work with everybody. You want to work with companies that align with your core values. You don’t want to go out there and work with that company, that company, that company.”
The partnership could help the Panthers build their fanbase after they struggled to fill their arena in recent years. The team has ranked in the bottom five in the NHL in attendance in each season from 2016-17 to 2019-20.
“I’m excited for our guys,” said Miami head coach Manny Diaz in July. “I’m hoping we have a competitive advantage with that. I think that’s one of the great advantages we can use here with our community in our city here in Miami.”
“Obviously being where you know there’s a great economy like what we have here,” Diaz said. “As we tell our guys, they don’t put professional franchises in small towns and there’s a reason for that. So if you want to maximize your brand, you generally want to go where the people are. I think that can be a great advantage for our guys and hopefully we’ll get off to a great start on that on the first.”