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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Memphis, FedEx Strike Unique Corporate NIL Deal For $25 Million

  • FedEx is the state of Tennessee’s largest employer.
  • Company founder Fred Smith has been a huge donor to the school
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

FedEx will be making a different kind of local shipment during the college sports season. 

The e-commerce and transportation company announced on Friday it will send the University of Memphis $5 million per year for the next five years in a corporate NIL deal that is believed to be the first of its kind. 

“This is a massive example of what NIL was intended to be and can be, but it’s done the right way with the right kind of infrastructure from a Fortune 50 company to hometown student-athletes,” Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch told The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Really, I don’t think there’s another deal that we’re aware of that is this size or the scope across multiple programs and across multiple years.”

The money will specifically go to football, men’s and women’s basketball and other women’s sports with athletes promoting FedEx initiatives, a news release said. FedEx is based out of Memphis and is the state of Tennessee’s largest employer. As of May 2023, the company has over 500,000 workers. The company has a long-standing relationship with the university. Founder Fred Smith recently pledged $50 million toward a $220 million renovation of the Tigers’ football stadium. (Smith is the father of former Falcons coach Arthur Smith and a former minority owner of the Washington Commanders.) The men’s basketball team plays at FedEx Forum, which is also home to the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the company also sponsors the Tigers’ baseball field. 

The $5 million agreement from FedEx comes with a 50 percent match clause, Veach told The Commercial Appeal; the university plans to raise an additional $2.5 million annually so FedEx can equal it. Veach said doing so is “very attainable based on where we’ve been in the past.”

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