FedEx NIL deal a play to get Memphis into bigger conference in next round of realignment

Nov 28, 2020; Annapolis, Maryland, USA; A detailed view of the Memphis Tigers logo on an equipment
Nov 28, 2020; Annapolis, Maryland, USA; A detailed view of the Memphis Tigers logo on an equipment / Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The massive NIL deal Memphis signed with FedEx -- one that will see the courier giant spend $5 million this year on Memphis athletes as the first of a five-year commitment after said athletes support the company's initiatives -- is a play to get the Tigers into a bigger conference during the next round of realignment.

FedEx is headquartered in the Grind City, and this move is one designed to boost UM to the next stratosphere given the city's only current financial boon is the Memphis Grizzlies; which is still the least profitable NBA franchise, valued at $2.4 billion. In propelling Memphis's football team, already-successful men's college basketball team, and several women's programs as well, the Tigers are actively making strides to appeal to either the Big 12 or ACC.

With Memphis being part of the ACC's contingency plan in the event FSU, Clemson, UNC, and other flagship schools bolt the conference, UM may be aiming higher than what could soon be a conference equal to or below the AAC.

Memphis AD flexes school's historic FedEx deal

Memphis AD Laird Veatch made sure to point out that no other school in the country has come to such an agreement that UM has with FedEx from an NIL standpoint.

"This is a massive example of what NIL was intended to be and can be, but it’s done the right way with the right kind of infrastructure from a Fortune 50 (500) company to hometown student-athletes," Veatch said in an interview with The Commercial Appeal. "Really, I don’t think there’s another deal that we’re aware of that is this size or the scope across multiple programs and across multiple years."

Memphis elevated their stock immensely on April 19, a day that can very soon be seen as the day that changed Tigers athletics, and perhaps college sports, forever.