On Wednesday (October 4), 85 Utah Utes scholarship football players were surprised with brand new Dodge Ram 1500 Big Horn trucks from the NIL group, the Crimson Collective.
NIL – refers to the way college athletes can receive compensation. Using an athlete’s NIL would involve a brand leveraging their name, image, and/or likeness through marketing and/or promotional endeavors.
The presentation took place inside Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, and after the announcement was made, the players ran onto the field to look at their new trucks.
The announcer was so excited during the presentation that he told the players they would receive 2004 Dodge Ram trucks instead of 2024 Dodge Ram trucks.
Watch the video footage from the presentation below:
When the players found out they were each getting a Dodge Ram pic.twitter.com/Sofq0knKov— Josh Furlong (@JFurKSL) October 4, 2023
The football players were lit on the field as they checked out their new trucks.
Funded by collective donations, each truck’s retail price is $61,000.
The trucks will be leased to each player as part of a six-month contract that will roll over contingent on a player’s eligibility and enrollment at the university.
The lease will end when a player’s eligibility expires or they choose to transfer.
The Crimson Collective will also cover the insurance for each truck.
The Ken Garff Automotive Group, one of the largest auto dealers in the country, is facilitating the deal along with a host of Utah donors from the Crimson Collective.
The announcement was made as a part of a new partnership with the collegiate streaming application For The Win 360 (FTW 360), whose branding is on all the trucks in an advertising wrap.
The FTW 360 app is a hub for all Utah athletics content, which features scores, summaries, game highlights, behind-the-scenes stories, news, and interviews.
The presentation at Rice Eccles Stadium was live-streamed on the app.
Matt Gauf, board chair of the Crimson Collective and part-owner of the Ken Garff Automotive Group, and Derek Mattson, CEO of FTW360, headed up the surprise truck reveal project for the Utah Utes football players.
The plan is for nearly 100 trucks to be built at a Detroit Dodge plant and transported in trailers, five to six at a time, for the 1600-mile trip to Salt Lake City.
Mattson said the task is pretty incredible, considering it’s taking place in the middle of an auto-workers strike.
Moving 100 trucks and getting them built in the middle of an auto-workers strike is pretty incredible.
The Crimson Collective operates as a 501(c) 3 non-profit, and it strives to provide education, housing, and transportation to Utah athletes through NIL endeavors with local charities.
Gauff stated the idea behind gifting the players the Dodge Ram 1500 Big Horn trucks.
If we want them to go around town to help with these causes, we need to provide them transportation.
How do we get these players around to create attention around these causes?
The Utah Utes football players will be used as brand ambassadors to promote the Crimson Collective and the FTW360 app.
The Crimson Collective has a goal of raising $6 million by December. They were at the $3 million mark in raised funds in May.
The total fleet of vehicles for this project is more than $6 million, but Ken Garff Automotive can sell the trucks to the public after one year as a part of the leasing agreement through United Fleet Management.
Gauf said he’s unsure how long the truck deal will extend to in the future, but it it works, they will keep it going.
If it works, we’ll keep going.
We are ordering vehicles as we need them.
The intent is to figure it out and if it works, how to keep it going.
Watch the “Fox 13 Salt Lake City” news report below: