(Photo via Florida Victorious.)
The Florida Gators’ NIL efforts have been upgraded today, as Gator Collective has sold its assets and is being rebranded as Florida Victorious.
Almost two years after founding Gator Collective, former Florida baseball pitcher Eddie Rojas is effectively retiring from his role as the CEO of the Florida Gators’ NIL collective entity, handing the keys over to Nate Barbera and Jose Costa, the owner of the 501(c)(3) organization FAST. Costa is credited as the founder and chairman of the organization, while Barbera is the CEO.
Jose Costa is the man behind Costa Farms, one of the largest plant suppliers in North America. A Miami native, Costa graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture and then earned his MBA from the University of Miami. Upon graduating from UM, Costa quickly made his mark on the business world, launching the real estate investor company Fourshore Capital as well as his namesake company Costa Farms.
Other key names to get familiar with include Chief Finance Officer Felipe Torres de Navarra, Player Engagement Manager Lisa Ben-Chaim, Chief Of Staff Ryan Dunn, and Director of Development Erick Reasoner. Jen Grosso, the COO of Gator Collective, will stay on as the Director of Fan Engagement.
FAST, which stands for Florida Achievement Support Trust, is not new. It’s been in existence for nearly a year now- Costa founded it last June- and various Gator student-athletes have been posting on social media about their work with the organization throughout that time. Florida Victorious is an additional branch of FAST, which will continue to work as a nonprofit organization and bring Gator student-athletes together with those in need in the Gainesville area.
Among the non-profits that FAST has worked with: Alachua County’s Habitat for Humanity, the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, the St. Francis House, and the Ronald McDonald House of North Central Florida.
For fans who want to remain connected to their favorite players the way that Gator Collective gave them the chance to do, the player-fan connection efforts of Florida Victorious will operate in a similar manner.
Membership opportunities range from $15-$250 per month, with at least 90% of the fan contributions going directly to the student-athletes. In return, members will get inside access to players’ lives on and off the field or court in the forms of live, in-person events and experiences, member communities, and exclusive content with the players. Members will also get access to signed merchandise from their favorite players.
Perhaps the biggest piece of information to take note of with Florida Victorious is that it will become the flagship NIL organization of the Florida Gators, with even stronger buy-in from the UAA than Gator Collective had.
“Florida Victorious provides valuable NIL opportunities for our student-athletes thanks to fans who support Gator athletics,” UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin told Nick De La Torre of On3. “There are a number of pillars that are key for success – facilities, academics, conference affiliation, geography, and coaches. NIL is also a critical pillar, and we must excel in all of these areas for the Gators to be successful today and in the future.”
Watch the official Florida Victorious launch announcement video below.