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Chicago White Sox Are the Latest Pro Team to Invest in NIL

  • The program, called “CHISOX Athlete,” has signed eight college players.
  • It follows a model pioneered last year by the Florida Panthers and Atlanta Braves.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox have become the latest professional team to invest in name, image, and likeness. 

The team announced it has signed eight college athletes from multiple sports and schools in the region — but all of them grew up in Illinois. Among the players are Michigan football’s  A.J. Henning, DePaul basketball’s Anaya Peoples, and Notre Dame soccer’s Kiki Van Zanten. 

The program, called “CHISOX Athlete,” was “created to help empower student-athletes, their voices and careers both on and off the field,” the team said via Twitter.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The White Sox have followed a model pioneered last year by teams like the Atlanta Braves and Florida Panthers, who set up NIL programs to promote the in-game experience.

Like the other programs, none of the athletes play the sport of the professional team. While that’s not expressly prohibited by NCAA or state laws, teams told Front Office Sports last year they were wary of potential improper relationships with athletes before a draft. 

Either way, they said, signing local athletes from different sports still reached a valuable demographic. While in some cases athletes would receive extra revenue for selling tickets, teams were looking for a more intangible return on investment. 

It’s unclear whether the NIL programs at the Braves and Panthers will continue — but clearly the idea has struck a chord with other teams.

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