In a groundbreaking move that could redefine the intersection of professional wrestling and college sports, WWE is reportedly on the verge of finalizing a significant agreement with the Big 12 Conference football. The potential deal, focused on merchandising and licensing collaboration, is poised to unleash a wave of officially licensed Big 12 merchandise just in time for the upcoming college football bowl season.
WrestleVotes, a reliable source for insider wrestling information, broke the news, stating, “I’m told WWE and the Big 12 Conference are nearing an agreement which would allow WWE to produce licensed Big 12 merchandise focused around the upcoming college football bowl season. Another big step in the sports world…”
This strategic move marks WWE’s latest foray into the realm of college sports, following the launch of its Next In Line (NIL) program in 2021. The NIL initiative was introduced in response to the NCAA’s landmark decision on July 1, 2021, granting college athletes the ability to capitalize on their name, image, and likeness (NIL). WWE’s program, described as providing a “clear pathway” for athletes to become future superstars, offers a unique blend of professional wrestling training and access to a wide range of resources.
According to information found on the company’s NIL website, athletes enrolled in the program not only receive hands-on training at the state-of-the-art Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., but also gain access to resources spanning brand building, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing, and community relations.
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The program’s inaugural NIL deal was inked with Olympian Gable Steveson on September 9, 2021. Since then, Steveson has made waves in the wrestling world, stepping into the WWE ring multiple times, including a high-profile debut at WrestleMania 38. The Olympian’s first and, as of now, only match took place at NXT: Great American Bash earlier this year against Baron Corbin, concluding in a double countout.
WWE’s potential collaboration with the Big 12 Conference football signals a strategic move to capitalize on the fervor surrounding college football, a cultural phenomenon deeply embedded in the American sports landscape. While details of the agreement are yet to be unveiled, the prospect of officially licensed merchandise for prominent universities like Oklahoma, Baylor, West Virginia, and Texas Tech is sure to generate excitement among fans and stakeholders alike.
This development comes at a time when WWE is actively expanding its footprint beyond the traditional realms of professional wrestling. The company’s willingness to venture into partnerships with major collegiate conferences demonstrates a commitment to diversifying its revenue streams and engaging with a broader audience.
As the negotiation between WWE and the Big 12 Conference football approaches its climax, speculation is rife about the potential impact on both industries. Wrestling enthusiasts are buzzing with anticipation, envisioning a fusion of the high-energy spectacle of WWE with the passion and tradition of college football.