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Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville signs NIL deal with Lady Vols star athlete Rickea Jackson
Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville has announced a new name, image and likeness (NIL) deal with Lady Vols basketball standout Rickea Jackson, who delayed her entry into the WNBA draft to return for another season. The dealership is encouraging other businesses to back female student-athletes at Tennessee.
“Rickea Jackson represents everything we want to align with in this new NIL space for student-athletes: excellence, performance and leadership,” said Lee Ann Furrow-Tolsma, president and CEO of Furrow Automotive Group, which includes the Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville brand among others. “Rickea is an outstanding player, and the perfect Lady Vol to represent our brand.”
As part of the NIL deal, Jackson, the leading scorer for the Lady Vols this season, will have use of a 2022 Mercedes Benz CLA 250 coupe and also will attach her name and image to Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville’s marketing efforts throughout the coming year. A projected top three draft pick in this year’s WNBA draft, Jackson instead opted to use her fifth year of college eligibility as a Lady Vol basketball player.
The NCAA has passed legislation to allow student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness, which allows partnerships for everything from apparel to vehicles, and the Lady Vol Boost (Her) Club has been a driving force in securing visibility and partnerships for female athletes at Tennessee.
Jackson’s NIL deal with Mercedes of Knoxville is the largest to date for a Lady Vol athlete. Since being formed in 2022, the Lady Vol Boost (Her) Club has secured opportunities for multiple Lady Vol athletes in different sports and needs additional supporters, members and corporate partners.
“Our family has been a supporter of the Lady Vol Boost (Her) Club since its inception, and we want to share what a great experience this has been,” Furrow-Tolsma said.
“We encourage local businesses to step up and support these outstanding women at Tennessee.”
Corporate sponsors can call Terri Holder, founder of the Lady Vol Boost (Her) Club, at 865-414-6255 or email [email protected] for additional information. Individuals also can join the club or make a one-time donation at ladyvolboostherclub.com.
“The name of the Lady Vol Boost (Her) Club is a throwback to when Pat Summitt formed the original club in 1979 to support women at Tennessee,” Holder said. “Like Pat always did, we will do things the right way and form partnerships that benefit the student-athletes and the businesses they represent. We appreciate all of our members and supporters to date and ask for more people and sponsors to get behind these outstanding women.”
The Furrow family have been longtime supporters of athletics at the University of Tennessee. Furrow-Tolsma’s mother, Ann Baker Furrow, who is in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, played on the men’s golf team at Tennessee in 1964 and 1965 with a full scholarship because the women, later to become the Lady Vols, didn’t have a golf team. Furrow led the efforts to add women’s golf in 1991 and served as CEO and interim head coach until an official head coach was hired in 1992.
“Women’s sports matter at Tennessee,” Furrow-Tolsma said. “Our Mercedes of Knoxville team, our customers and our family all love the Lady Vols and enjoy cheering them on throughout the year, and this is a wonderful way to give back.”
About Furrow Automotive
Furrow Automotive is the parent company of Knoxville Motor Company, Knoxville Motor Company BodyWerks, Mercedes Benz of Knoxville, Sprinter Knoxville, Land Rover Knoxville and the Chattanooga Auto Square. Known for excellence in customer service and dedication to the community, Knoxville Motor Company’s award-winning locations have proudly served Knoxville for over 107 years. Mercedes Benz of Knoxville is the J.D. Power Dealer of Excellence Award winner for the third year in a row and a MBUSA Best of the Best Award winner.