FedEx commits $25 million to Memphis NIL over next five years

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos04/19/24


FedEx is going all-in on NIL with University of Memphis athletics.

The logistics company announced Friday it’s committing $25 million over the next five years to Memphis’ NIL efforts. It’s a monumental moment in the history of name, image and likeness, believed to be the first NIL corporate sponsorship that services an entire athletic department.

A Memphis-based company, Altius Sports Partners was brought in to facilitate the deal. The agreement calls for FedEx to spend $5 million annually across five years. Dollars have been appropriated for football, men’s and women’s basketball and other women’s athletic programs, however, how NIL dollars are dispersed is unclear.

Athletes will earn compensation for promoting FedEx in promotional campaigns.

“We evaluated the evolving NIL landscape, exploring how we can best deliver positive impact to student-athletes and connect them to meaningful opportunities for both themselves and the community and made the decision to reallocate marketing funds to an NIL platform,” FedEX EVP and CMO Brian Philips said in a release. “This gives us an opportunity to invest in bright, young athletes in our great hometown of Memphis, strengthening our connection to the next generation of leaders.”

The NIL commitment immediately gives Memphis the funding to become one of the top NIL programs in the Group of 5 and American Athletic Conference, especially with SMU’s departure for the ACC.

The university’s relationship with FedEx is not new. Along with being based in Memphis, it’s one of the largest employers in the state of Tennessee. Fred Smith, the founder and chairman of FedEx, has been a longtime high-level booster for Memphis. The billionaire donated $50 million last year to renovate the Tigers’ football stadium.

The campaign also includes a 50 percent match clause. The university plans to start a campaign to raise an additional $2.5 million per year.

In the current college football landscape, donor-driven collectives have become crucial in attracting and retaining talent. The top NIL organizations are operating with an eight-figure budget strictly for football.

FedEx’s investment guarantees Memphis can compete in the new age of college sports.