We’ve covered plenty of NIL deals over the past year, but in terms of the number of student-athletes involved, this is a pretty big one. Fifty-four University of Kentucky student-athletes are partnering with Mercury, which creates exclusive digital-first platforms and communities for top collegiate brands to bring fans closer to their favorite athletes and teams. The group includes 20 football players and members of the volleyball and women’s basketball teams.
Last week, Will Levis announced his deal with Mercury to join the company’s tailored digital platform for Kentucky Athletics, Blue Chips. On the Blue Chips platform, players can host live AMA (ask me anything) sessions, share exclusive athlete-specific memorabilia, join special podcast episodes alongside Levis, and customize digital collectible drops. Blue Chips launched last season with the Kentucky Men’s Basketball team.
“Blue Chips is now the go-to experience for any Kentucky fan who wants unmatched access to their favorite players,” said Porter Grieve, CEO of Mercury. “We are thrilled to add over 50 fun and dynamic athletes to our growing Mercury team, and we look forward to providing ways for fans to engage with every one of them.”
“Ownership of my voice and image is essential, and while volleyball is my focus, there’s much more to me than my performance on the court,” said Azhani Tealer, a senior and All-American Middle Blocker on the Volleyball Team. “This partnership is the natural choice for athletes who want to have fun with fans and showcase different sides of their personalities.”
We’ve grown accustomed to NIL deals for football and basketball players, but it’s good to see Kentucky’s other athletes getting a piece of the pie too.