Adidas Opens Network for NCAA College Athletes to Become Paid Endorsers
More than 50,000 college student athletes will be eligible to become paid Adidas spokespeople after the sports brand announced a new "name, image and likeness" network for NCAA Division 1 schools.
The announcement, made Wednesday, allows the 109 partner schools included in the network to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) across 23 sports. The program will launch in phases over the next year, beginning with historically Black colleges and universities and Power Five conference partners this fall. It's unclear how much Adidas is offering to pay the student athletes.
Adidas NCAA program lead Jim Murphy told Sports Illustrated in a statement that Adidas wants the initiative to help the college students grow as student-athletes and set them up for a future beyond college sports.
“We hope to uplift student-athletes by providing educational opportunities to learn more about the NIL and business landscape, which may include bringing them into brand moments and campaigns, partnerships with existing brand athlete partners and ambassadors,” Murphy said. “But really we want to open the doors to a more equitable future outside of just unlocking monetary rewards."
Total Retail's Take: Adidas is taking a different approach to the concept of college athletes getting paid, which the U.S. Supreme Court decided last year was allowed. Instead of exclusively going after individual sponsorship deals, Adidas is broadening the playing field — pun intended — to thousands of college kids, which could help the athletic apparel and equipment brand stand out against its competitors. It also represents an opportunity for Adidas to tap into younger athletes, which could present value as valued influencers among younger consumers.