Wheels Up announces first Name, Image, Likeness partnership

Private aviation provider Wheels Up is partnering with the University of Mississippi to help student-athletes and support fundraising for Meals Up.

By Doug Gollan, December 28, 2022

Private aviation provider Wheels Up is partnering with The Grove Collective to help student-athletes and support fundraising for Meals Up

Wheels Up announced a group Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) program with The Brandr Group and The Grove Collective today.

The program will allow the University of Mississippi student-athletes to give back to their local community.

The student-athletes will help support Meals Up, a program supporting Feeding America that was created in 2020 by Wheels Up Founder and Chairman Kenny Dichter and several high-profile athletes to battle the growing level of food insecurity during the pandemic.

In addition to the charitable impact of this announcement, Ole Miss student-athletes will have access to commercial travel opportunities to allow their loved ones to attend Rebels’ games and athletic events through the commercial airline partner of Wheels Up.

Additionally, Ole Miss Student Athletes Myah Taylor (Women’s Basketball), Sasha Ratlif (Women’s Volleyball), Jaxson Dart (Football), Hunter Elliot (Baseball), Quinshon Judkins (Football), TJ McCants (Baseball) and Matthew Murrell (Men’s Basketball) have been designated to work on behalf of Meals Up.

So far, Meals Up has funded the equivalent of over 90 million meals for Feeding America.

In total, up to 15 Ole Miss student-athletes will be named to work with and promote the Meals Up charity platform that benefits Feeding America in North Mississippi.

The student-athletes will be compensated through this NIL opportunity while giving back to the local community.

“As part of our ongoing Meals Up charity initiative, we’re thrilled to partner with The Brandr Group and The Grove Collective to usher in the next generation of philanthropists to help support Feeding America and continue to fight food insecurity in the United States,” said Dichter.

He added, “This is an industry-leading partnership and unique way to engage with college athletes while providing them with an outlet to give back to the local community, along with providing memories for the student families attending various games through the program.”

“This is an exciting and transformative partnership that will create opportunities for athletes’ parents and family members to attend games and see their loved ones in person through Wheels Up’s commercial airline partner. More so, we’re honored to be the first Collective to partner with Wheels Up in this historic deal,” said Walker Jones, Executive Director of The Grove Collective.

“Today’s announcement shows that The Grove Collective and Wheels Up are two forward-thinking entities who are looking to create new, meaningful opportunities for student-athletes. We hope this program can grow within The Grove Collective and ultimately across the country with other collectives,” said Chris Marciani, The Brandr Group.

The Wheels Up deal marks the first deal from The Grove Collective and The Brandr Group partnership, which is focused on creating national and local student-athlete NIL group deals co-branded with universities.

The Wheels Up program provides the Grove Collective the opportunity to offer commercial airfare in student-athlete NIL deals to use for family travel to home and away games.

Short for Name, Image, and Likeness, “NIL” refers to how college athletes can receive compensation and allows student-athletes to use and leverage their name, image, and/or likeness through marketing relationships and platforms.

Wheels Up is a longtime sponsor of ESPN’s GameDay college football pregame program.

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