WWE today announced the launch of the groundbreaking NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) program that will provide a clear path from college athletics to WWE.
In line with the NCAA’s new historical policy, effective July 1, 2021, which ushered in the NIL era of enabling college athletes to monetize their name, image and appearance, WWE has developed a comprehensive program to recruit and develop potential future superstars. The NIL program, dubbed “Next In Line,” aims to improve the talent development process through partnerships with college athletes from a variety of athletic backgrounds.
“The WWE NIL program can transform our business,” said Paul Levesque, WWE’s executive vice president of global strategy and talent development. “By partnering with elite athletes at all levels across a wide range of college sports, we will significantly expand our talent pool and create a system that prepares NCAA members for WWE as soon as their college careers come to an end.”
All athlete partnerships will provide access to WWE’s state-of-the-art Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, in addition to organization-wide resources, including brand building, media training, communications, live events promotion, creative writing, and public relations. Upon completion of the NIL Program, Selected Athletes can receive an exclusive opportunity to receive a contract with WWE.
In September, WWE announced that it had struck its first deal with heavyweight freestyle wrestler Gable Stevson, who won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The agreement allowed Stepson to return to the University of Minnesota during his senior season, where he defends his NCAA national championship while simultaneously starting his WWE superstar training.
WWE will unveil the first class of NIL partnership in the coming weeks.