Adidas to launch wide-reaching NIL network for partner schools at the D1 level
Adidas announced Wednesday the creation of what it’s calling a groundbreaking NIL network that could soon benefit more than 50,000 Division I student-athletes across 23 different sports at Adidas-partnered universities across the country.
It’s believed to be the first major sports brand to unveil an equitable and inclusive NIL network for student-athletes.
BREAKING: Adidas is opening its NIL network to every college athlete at an Adidas-partnered NCAA DI university.
The wide-sweeping NIL network is the first among major sports brands.
More than 50,000 athletes across 23 sports and 109 schools can become paid Adidas ambassadors. pic.twitter.com/T48jIeWteV
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) March 23, 2022
The initiative is the latest chapter in the company’s “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign. The long-range goal for Adidas is to promote more equity and inclusion in sports. It’s expected that Power Five partner universities and HBCU schools will be the first to benefit as Adidas rolls the program out over the next year.
It sounds like student-athletes will have the chance to make money initially through affiliate links as brand ambassadors. Adidas does have plans to also offer elevated opportunities at a brand partnership and entrepreneurial level, according to SI.
“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,” Adidas NCAA program lead Jim Murphy told SI in a statement. “But really we want to open the doors to a more equitable future outside of just unlocking monetary rewards. We want to help them grow as student-athletes and set them up for a future beyond college sports.”
Currently, Arizona State and Washington are the only Adidas schools in the Pac-12. They’ll be able to start taking advantage of the network this fall.
It will be interesting to see how this move impacts things in the NIL space going forward. The top earners so far in the NIL era are college football athletes, and Nike has a stranglehold on that pie. Last season, 45 of the 64 Power Five programs in college football were partnered with Nike or Jordan Brand. Adidas had just 11 Power Five partners. In the Pac-12, Utah (Under Armour) is the only other program to not be either a Nike or Jordan Brand university.