FedEx pledges $25M over 5 years to NIL program at Memphis

MEMPHIS -- FedEx on Friday pledged $25 million over the next five years to be used in sponsorship deals with University of Memphis athletes, a huge boost for the school's name, image and likeness compensation efforts.

The Memphis-based shipping giant said the program will initially focus on football, men's and women's basketball and other women's sports. The deal was facilitated by Altius Sports Partners, a company that works with dozens of schools on NIL activities.

The deal is for $5 million per year, a significant sum for a school that does not play in a wealthy power conference. The Tigers compete in the American Athletic Conference.

"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," FedEx executive vice president and chief marketing officer Brian Phillips said in a statement.

The company is a prominent presence in Memphis sports. The NBA's Grizzlies and Memphis basketball play at the FedExForum, and FedEx is a sponsor for the PGA's FedEx St. Jude Classic.

FedEx will host an NIL event Saturday at Memphis' spring football game.

"We are truly appreciative of the vision and support of FedEx's leadership in this area," Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch said. "NIL opportunities have become a crucial facet of the student-athlete dynamic, and we believe major corporate support of NIL will need to be a key part of the future landscape of college athletics."