Stingray Branding announced a game-changing new partnership with Gator Collective, a unique organization that works with student-athletes at the University of Florida to help compensate them for their name, image, and likeness.
The Charleston-based digital marketing firm will spearhead all Gator Collective marketing initiatives, ranging from crafting and executing email marketing campaigns to editing and producing Gator Collective’s official podcast and everything in between.
“This opportunity allows me to empower the full force of my staff and our capabilities to help catapult our student-athletes to reach their full potential,” commented Stingray Branding CEO Alan Thompson. “I'm thrilled to see what can be accomplished by combining the efforts of multiple powerful forces involved in this deal and behind Gator Collective.”
Pioneers of College Athletics
Last summer, new legislation went into effect allowing student-athletes to benefit from their personal brands– in other words, their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Within two months of the rule change taking place, Gator Collective launched, providing Florida Gator fans with an unprecedented opportunity: to help fund Gator Collective’s efforts in exchange for gaining access to their favorite college athletes that they’d never had before, in the forms of Twitter Spaces, private zoom calls, and public meet-and-greet events. Ten and a half months after lifting off the ground, Gator Collective has helped set up NIL deals for over 75 different Florida athletes across nine different sports– and Collective COO Jen Grosso says it’s time to take the next step forward.
“Gator Collective is thrilled to partner with Stingray Branding for its marketing needs,” remarked Grosso. “Stingray is at the top of its industry when it comes to a full-service marketing agency and we look forward to working with Alan and his team to further our mission of connecting Gator fans with Gator student-athletes.”
Unprecedented Access to Student-Athletes
The primary mission of Gator Collective is to provide fans with ways to get to know their favorite Florida student-athletes that were never possible before- and compensate the athletes for their time. And the Collective has checked that box in a variety of ways.
Among the most popular forms of connecting with the student-athletes has been to have the players send special, personalized birthday messages to young fans. Gervon Dexter, a perennially smiling defensive tackle for Florida’s football team, has quickly become a fan favorite as a result of doing so.
Gator Collective has also begun to host Twitter Spaces, a live conversation platform that mimics radio call-in shows, with current Florida student-athletes. Anybody with an active Twitter account can participate in these conversations, and after the Collective members hosting the event have asked their share of questions, the floor is opened to listeners to ask any questions of the athletes that they want.
Similarly, the Collective has launched its own podcast, titled “84 Reasons” and hosted by former Florida football All-American Ben Troupe. The weekly show brings on athletes from all different sports and enlightens listeners about the lives of the athletes when the bright lights aren’t shining on them.
Last but not least, Gator Collective plans to hold Fan Fest events once a year, which brings student-athletes and fans together to hang out in casual, social settings. The first annual event was held this past May in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and featured forty different Florida student-athletes and 100 fans.
Business And Passion Collide Once More for Stingray CEO
This is not Stingray Branding’s first foray into the world of Florida Gator athletics. The company has previously designed a personal brand logo for former Florida Gator/Jackson State Tiger, and current Detroit Lion, football player James Houston IV and built the website for the Florida Gators-focused 501(c)(3) charity The Gator Good Foundation. Additionally, Stingray Branding has been handling nearly all marketing tasks for the Charleston Gator Club since 2019.
To hear Stingray Branding CEO Alan Thompson, who grew up a Florida Gators fan and graduated from the University of Florida, tell it: “The ability to work with my alma mater is a dream, and the dream never gets old.”
Stingray Takes Aim at History
Despite Stingray Branding’s familiarity with Florida Gators-related business ventures, this one has a different– perhaps even history-making– feel to Thompson.
“This opportunity is unique because we have a chance to create history,” Thompson stated. “NIL is going to be something that goes in the history books and changes the world of college athletics forever. We're able to partner with the FIRST NIL Collective, which coined the very phrase “Collective,” and that Collective happens to be partnered with a top-five Public University, a top tier Athletic school that cares about all sports, and the best company operating in the NIL space in my opinion.”
Thompson also had high praise for the individuals behind Gator Collective. “The structure Eddie Rojas and Jen Grosso have put in place to make sure Gator Collective is sustainable and truly makes the impact that NIL was meant for is unmatched in the NIL space,” Thompson added. “We pride ourselves on doing things the right way and at a very high level of quality. Gator Collective, UF Athletics, and the University of Florida share those same values and we're proud to work with the best of the best.”
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