The Swarm Collective, which amplifies name, image and likeness opportunities to the University of Iowa student-athletes, officially has a gaming partner. Elite Casino Resorts announced last week that it would be the exclusive Iowa casino gaming partner of the Swarm collective.
In doing so, the company also pledged a $500,000 leadership contribution. CEO Dan Kehl said in a release:
“Elite Casino Resorts has built success by giving back to the communities we serve. We have supported Iowa student-athletes since we opened our doors, but we recognize changing times require more help.
Our Eastern Iowa community is better because of Iowa Athletics, and we are proud to support the student-athletes.”
According to the Swarm Collective’s CEO, Brad Heinrichs, the collaboration was perfect because of the casino’s Iowa ties. Elite Casino Resorts boasts three locations in Hawkeye State.
“What excites us about our partnership with Elite Casino Resorts is it is a company that is owned and run by Iowans who already have a long history of serving local charities and understand the value of enhancing the community,” he said in a release.
“The partnership with Elite Casinos Resorts is a great fit for us at SWARM and we look forward to expanding our charitable efforts of support across the state of Iowa.”
What is a name, image and likeness opportunity?
Just as the name states, NCAA student-athletes can profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL).
In previous years, players couldn’t earn compensation from their NIL. In other words, they couldn’t sign autographs for money or receive any sort of a cut from advertising deals.
That all changed last summer when the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA’s previous restrictions on student-athlete compensation were illegal.
Current NCAA rules say that name, image and likeness can’t be used as a way to recruit high-profile players to your program. But it can be an added bonus.
Take Alabama quarterback Bryce Young for instance. ESPN reported that before he took a snap as the Tide’s starting quarterback, he inked more than $800,000 in NIL sponsorships.
That’s certainly not the norm for all student-athletes, but it’s an example of just how lucrative some of these deals can be.
What is the Swarm Collective?
The collective is a nonprofit charitable foundation created to help the University of Iowa athletes receive name, image and likeness deals. Heinrichs said in a release:
“As college athletics continues to evolve at a rapid pace with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL), our mission at SWARM is to serve and raise funds for our local non-profits and charities through mission-driven engagement opportunities with our Iowa student-athletes.”
It’s no secret the Swarm Collective and NIL played a big part in Iowa’s activity in the NCAA transfer portal. Former Michigan Wolverine Cade McNamara, a highly sought-after quarterback in the portal, committed to Iowa in December.
Once officially a Hawkeye, McNamara sent out a tweet with a link, encouraging Hawkeye fans to contribute to the collective.
“Hawkeye Nation! Couldn’t be more excited to come to Iowa City and play football, win championships, and join the SWARM! You should join the SWARM, too!” he tweeted.
Much like how Elite Casino Resorts gave money to the collective, other businesses, charities and members of the Hawkeye fanbase have done, too. Elite Casino Resort’s contribution is part of its Giving Back program, which makes donations to local nonprofits, fire departments and law enforcement agencies, according to a release.
Elite Casino Resorts hopes partnership will help its charity events
Charitable events at the different Elite Casino Resorts properties will feature Iowa student-athletes under this new deal.
“Working with Iowa student-athletes will boost the charitable events we host,” Riverside GM Damon John said in a statement. “Our guests love the Hawkeyes!”
What to know about Iowa casino Elite Casino Resorts
Two of the three Elite Casino Resort locations in Iowa aren’t too far from Iowa City.
The closest is Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, which resides just south of Iowa City. It’s a popular destination in eastern Iowa and a profitable one, too; so far in Fiscal Year 2023, Riverside totaled $64 million in revenue.
Further east in Davenport, Elite Casino Resorts operates the Rhythm City Casino Resort in the Quad Cities. The company also runs the Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort, located on the opposite side of the state in Larchwood, close to the South Dakota border.
Both compiled more than $47 million in adjusted gross revenue so far in FY23.