‘Desert Takeover Football Collective’ Revolutionizes NIL Opportunities For Arizona Football Student-Athletes

TUCSON – July 20, 2023 – A new chapter begins for Arizona student-athletes. Desert Takeover Football Collective becomes the first NIL collective dedicated to Arizona Football student-athletes. Desert Takeover was born out of the tremendous success of the Wildcats Football program, behind the leadership of Coach Jedd Fisch. The existing Friends of Wilbur and Wilma NIL collective will remain in existence, to support student-athletes in other Athletic programs at the University of Arizona. Both collectives will be powered by Blueprint Sports, the industry leader in managing full-service NIL collectives nationwide.

Long-time fans and supporters identified the need to form a dedicated and united front to support Arizona Football. Desert Takeover will help maximize opportunities for Arizona Football student-athletes to engage with the community and grow their brand. The collective offers a unique platform for student-athletes to showcase their skills and create a lasting impact both on and off the field.

“NIL is allowing us to unlock our student-athletes’ full potential on and off the football field,” said Jedd Fisch, Arizona Head Football Coach. “We are building NIL opportunities now, that will help shape the future of this Football program for years to come and provide a strong foundation for student-athletes. Our 5th Quarter program and our NIL Program work hand in hand to help our players become PROs, Professionals in life.”

The collective is spearheaded by former Arizona football player and NFL player, Ray Wells, who serves as the Executive Director for the collective. In addition, Cole Davis, long-time supporter of Wildcat Athletics will serve as the Chairman. Davis and his wife Jeannie are amongst the most recognized and highly committed supporters of Arizona Athletics, with various contributions to the campus including their namesake building which houses the football team’s practice facility.

“The Desert Takeover Football Collective is the new frontier for NIL at Arizona,” said Davis. “We have one of the best football coaches in the country leading our student-athletes to win a championship. The support of every fan, donor, and supporter of Arizona Football is vital to the success of the program.”

The mission of Desert Takeover is to transform the lives of talented football student-athletes by empowering them to monetize on their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). The collective will be professionally run by a dedicated full-time team, to oversee the daily operations and growth.

“The Desert Takeover Football Collective is our new and expanded NIL initiative that supports football student-athletes at the University of Arizona,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke. “Arizona Athletics has been a national leader in this emerging space, and this new and exciting program is a tremendous opportunity to enhance the experience of student-athletes. NIL is now an integral part of our department’s longstanding Commitment to an Athlete’s Total Success (C.A.T.S). Support of Arizona Football through the Desert Takeover Football Collective is crucial as we look to maintain our competitive position in the Pac-12 and nationally.”

The Desert Takeover Football Collective will connect football student-athletes with local and national revenue-earning opportunities, that will allow them to create custom marketing campaigns, plan speaking engagements, autograph sessions, and more.

There are three primary ways to support Desert Takeover Football Collective:

• Donations: Make a tax-deductible donation to Desert Takeover through a partnership with the BPS Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit. Student-athletes will partner with a local nonprofit to work on charitable causes and commit to community service hours.
• Membership: Become a member of Desert Takeover and receive exclusive member benefits, like meet-and-greets with student-athletes, autographed merchandise, and more.
• Corporate Sponsorship: NIL allows local and national sponsors to partner with Arizona football student-athletes for endorsement deals, marketing campaigns, appearances, and other projects.

Arizona Football student-athletes have performed more than 500 hours of charitable work improving the Tucson community thus far this year. Partnerships and student-athlete activations have been executed with local organizations including The Boys & Girls Club of Tucson, The Center of Opportunity, The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Habitat for Humanity Tucson, Ben’s Bells, and many more.

For more information visit and follow @DesertTakeover on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Media Contacts:
Allison Monette 702.373.7190

Nate Brown

General Manager

Nate Brown is the General Manager of Zags Collective, leading the charge to help amplify the opportunities for the Gonzaga student-athletes through NIL partnerships with local charities, fans and businesses. With over a decade of experience in the professional sports industry and as a former business owner in Spokane, Nate is a seasoned professional who knows what it takes to succeed. Most recently, he served as the National Sales Director for a prominent west-coast real estate company, where he was responsible for driving growth and retention. With a deep understanding of sales and marketing, Nate brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and is always seeking innovative ways to drive revenue and create partnerships.With a passion for ensuring the success of student-athletes both on and off the field, Nate is dedicated to providing the necessary resources to keep Gonzaga competitive on the national stage. He understands the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with the community and local businesses, and works to maximize opportunities for Gonzaga’s student-athletes. As the son of two Gonzaga alumni, including a father who was a baseball pitcher and also a coach for the school, Nate has a great connection to the university and a passion for ensuring its continued success. Outside of work, Nate enjoys spending time with family, including his wife Jessica and their 16-year-old daughter Brooklynn and 12-year-old son Marcus. When not working or spending time with family, you can find Nate at any one of the amazing golf courses in Spokane, honing his swing!

Mike Smith

General Manager

Mike Smith joined Micconope 1851 in March 2023 and is excited to be the General Manager and looks forward to working with Blueprint Sports increase NIL revenue generation for Florida State University student-athletes. Smith comes to Micconope 1851 from Catawba College where he held the title as the Senior Director of Athletics, Development. Prior to working in Athletics at Catawba College, Mike served as the Associate Athletics Director for External Relations at Charleston Southern University. Smith has an impressive background in the collegiate athletics industry, having held senior level development and corporate sponsorship sales roles at The University of Southern Mississippi, Limestone University, the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic University, and with multimedia rights-holders Tele South Communications at the University of Mississippi, Learfield Sports at UNC Chapel Hill, and with International Sports Properties at Georgia Tech. Smith is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and holds a master’s degree in Business Management from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his new role here at Micconppe 1851, Smith will be responsible for raising major gifts for NIL deals as well as securing NIL corporate sponsorships for Florida State University student-athletes. Mike looks forward to helping ensure the FSU student-athletes have the resources and leadership opportunities to remain competitive nationally and positioned for success well beyond graduation. Mike is married to Katy Smith; the couple looks forward to relocating to Tallahassee, Florida, and becoming a part of the Micconope 1851 and Seminole family!

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