Last Updated on November 5, 2023
Panini America, a sports collectibles company, has announced its first ever female NIL partner athlete, signing University of Nebraska volleyball star and two-time All-American Lexi Rodriguez.
“Being the first female NIL athlete for Panini is such a huge honor,” Rodriguez said. “There’s lots of deals out there for men’s sports, so I am super excited that Panini is also turning to providing opportunities for women’s sports in NIL and I’m very grateful they chose me to be the first. This is just another opportunity that little girls will see that can give them hope for the future of women’s sports and being able to connect to their favorite players!”
With their partnership, Panini will release exclusive trading cards of Rodriguez.
The junior libero burst onto the national stage by being named AVCA Freshman of the Year in 2021. By signing with Panini, Rodriguez joins the likes of University of Texas quarterbacks Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning, and University of Washington quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. as collegiate athletes signed by the brand.
The Sterling, Ill. native was a sought-after recruit in the class of 2021, and has been a member of the US National Team. The undefeated Huskers were recently part of the most watched regular season volleyball game of all-time, defeating Wisconsin on October 21.
“Lexi is an outstanding athlete and a trailblazer for us, in that she represents our first partnership with a female collegiate NIL athlete,” said Jason Howarth, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Athlete Relations for Panini America. “We look forward to featuring her as part of our NIL products and taking part in marketing initiatives.”