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The single biggest trend in college athletics continues to trickle up to Major League Baseball.
NIL, or name, image, likeness, programs are all the rage in college, especially around major college football programs looking to bring in the best recruits.
Texas A&M is currently benefitting from one of the largest and most successful NIL collectives in the sport, although head coach Jimbo Fisher denied it’s played a significant role in the school’s sterling 2022 recruiting class.
Now the Chicago White Sox have announced on Twitter that they’ve created their own NIL program for student athletes:
The White Sox join the Atlanta Braves and the NHL’s Florida Panthers as professional sports teams with their own NIL groups.
According to a recent report, signees to the “CHISOX Athlete” program will be “offered professional and career mentorship.” They will also be offered a pair of free tickets to a number of games through the end of the season.
Apparently, beyond the mentorship and tickets, the program “will offer athletes access to financial and professional trade secrets, as well as facilitate connections between athletes and sports executives.”
In return, those who have signed up “are expected to promote the White Sox brand on their social media accounts.”
Based on these details, it almost seems like the team is expecting to treat them as influencers; giving them some small benefits in exchange for social media promotion.
For colleges, these programs are obviously designed to attract recruits, but for pro sports teams there are fewer obvious benefits.
While this is an intriguing development, it remains to be seen if the “CHISOX Athletes” leads to further proliferation of NIL programs throughout professional sports.