Big games make the Robberies a lot of money in terms of names, pictures and likenesses

UT began selling football shirts with player names on the back. This is new due to Name Image Likeness offers.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Vol Shop is selling jerseys with player names on the back, for the first time this season.

“It’s really exciting,” said Tommi Grubbs of the Vol Shop. “We are seeing a lot of online sales for custom jerseys.”

New rules allow athletes to earn money with their name, image and likeness – or NIL. Grubbs said the University of Tennessee3 opened a store this season at Neyland Stadium that sells products based on NIL deals. Its sales are up 166% from the same store last year, Grubbs said.

“It’s just going to keep growing,” Grubbs said.

UT partners with Spyre, a local company representing athletes in NIL agreements. Bacon & Co, another local company, prints players’ names on shirts. The Vol Shop sells these jerseys to fans.

“This opportunity is available to all UT football players,” Spyre co-founder Hunter Baddour said in a text message. “It’s brand new to the NIL space and Spyre Sports is thrilled to have played a part in bringing it to life.”

Baddour said the athletes were paid quarterly for their jersey sales and received 80% of the royalties. Meanwhile, restaurants and hotels collect more revenue from bug games and big wins.

“Our hotels are full…our restaurants are full of people,” said Rick Emmett, Knoxville’s downtown coordinator. “The more we win, the more people will come back to games later in the year.”

A UT Athletic Department study said the average UT football fan lives outside of Knox County and earns a household income of more than $100,000 a year.

“We’re always better when the Vols win,” Emmett said.

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