Miami QB D'Eriq King Signs Historic NIL Contract with NHL's Florida Panthers

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 9, 2021

Miami quarterback D'Eriq King throws a pass during the first half of the Cheez-it Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
AP Photo/John Raoux

University of Miami quarterback D'Eriq King is the first collegiate athlete to sign an NIL agreement with a professional sports team after partnering with the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers announced the deal Monday with the creation of "FLA Athlete," a program that will give student-athletes the ability to profit from their names, images and likenesses. The organization plans to add other collegiate stars within the state to the program.

King will appear at the team's games and develop a merchandise collection and other content to promote the NHL squad across South Florida. 

The Houston transfer is heading into his second year with the Hurricanes after totaling 23 passing touchdowns and just five interceptions in 11 games last year. 

After leading Miami to an 8-3 record last season, King is considered a contender for the Heisman Trophy in 2021:

br_betting @br_betting

Top Heisman Odds for the 2021 Season <a href="https://twitter.com/DKSportsbook?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DKSportsbook</a> 🏆<br><br>Spencer Rattler +600<br>DJ Uiagalelei +750<br>Bryce Young +900<br>JT Daniels +1200<br>Sam Howell +1400<br>CJ Stroud +1400<br>D'Eriq King +2000<br>Kedon Slovis +2800<br>Bijan Robinson +2800<br><br>Who ya got? 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/fpxSJ8k2ml">pic.twitter.com/fpxSJ8k2ml</a>

The quarterback has signed several endorsement deals since the NCAA changed its rules this summer to allow players to profit off their names, images and likenesses. King already has agreements with College Hunks Moving Company, Murphy Auto Group, Dreamfield, The Wharf and Panini America.

The latest deal enters new territory, however. 

"We are thrilled to welcome D'Eriq to Panthers Territory as our first 'FLA Athlete," Panthers Chief Strategy Officer Sam Doerr said in a statement. "D'Eriq is a superstar both on and off the field and we are excited to reach and engage South Florida sports fans in new ways through this collaborative partnership."

The partnership could help the Panthers build their fanbase after they struggled to fill their arena in recent years. The team has ranked in the bottom five in the NHL in attendance in each season from 2016-17 to 2019-20, per ESPN