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WWE’s expanding its college recruiting program

recruit.wwe.com

Like yesterday’s NFT roundup, there’s a lot of stuff in this press release that I don’t understand. Most of the words I know, but the way they’re combined is often strange and unfamiliar.

What I glean from it though is that WWE is investing even more into their efforts to recruit collegiate athletes so they can teach them how to be Superstars™.

In an effort to expand their NIL program (which for WWE stands for “Next In Line”, and for the student-athletes they’re working with, the “name, image & likeness” rights the NCAA allows them to profit from without violating the terms of their scholarship agreements), they’re partnering with a company called INFLCR (which they pronounce, yep, “influencer”). INFLCR is a software platform/consulting firm looking to facilitate deals between schools, athletes, and the company’s that want to pay those schools & athletes to represent them.

Here’s that presser, which includes an always-nice-to-see-these-days quote from Triple H:

WWE® TEAMS UP WITH INFLCR TO EXPAND NIL PROGRAM

STAMFORD, Conn., March 15, 2022 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a multi-year partnership with INFLCR, a Teamworks product and industry leading brand building, content and name, image and likeness (“NIL”) business management platform for college athletes, to increase the scope and scale of WWE’s NIL program called “Next In Line™”.

Through the partnership, WWE will leverage INFLCR’s technology and alliances with more than 200 NCAA Division 1 colleges and universities to reach thousands of INFLCR student-athletes looking to monetize their name, image and likeness. Together, WWE and INFLCR will innovate how student-athletes engage with the WWE brand while maintaining their NCAA eligibility.

WWE launched its official NIL (program in December 2021 to establish a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE. The inaugural 15-person NIL class, which included athletes from 13 universities, seven NCAA conferences and four sports, joined the program’s first-ever signee, Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson. The comprehensive program serves to recruit and develop potential future WWE Superstars, and further enhances WWE’s talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds.

“We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership with INFLCR will create as we continue to expand our Next In Line program and identify student-athletes with an interest in becoming WWE Superstars,” said Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy & Development. “The Next In Line program is a unique opportunity that creates a clear pathway into WWE and partnering with INFLCR will help to bolster our efforts and resources in the NIL space.”

INFLCR’s recently-launched Global Exchange product will allow WWE to connect and execute directly with student-athletes across a myriad of sports backgrounds. The platform provides all parties a frictionless experience through streamlining communications and processes associated with NIL partnerships within a single ecosystem.

“INFLCR’s partnership with WWE opens a new door for the way student-athletes interact with companies looking to provide monetization opportunities,” said INFLCR Founder Jim Cavale. “The technology offers a seamless experience for both WWE and student-athletes in a safe and compliant environment.”

Learn more about the “Next In Line” program at wwerecruit.com/nil and INFLCR at inflcr.com.

So there you have it. We’ll have to wait and see how adding INFLCR to the process changes things for WWE’s developmental program. Pretty sure it continues to mean independent wrestlers won’t be the focus, though.