NIL: Adidas is all in

March 25, 2022
Sports BusinessGeneral
NIL: Adidas is all in

The GIST: Adidas made an unprecedented commitment to college athletes on Wednesday. The sportswear brand is offering name, image and likeness (NIL) deals to athletes at all 109 NCAA Division I schools it partners with — up to 50K athletes across 23 sports. Gives new meaning to the slogan “impossible is nothing.”

The details: Athletes who join the Adidas brand ambassador team will be paid per social media post and earn a percentage of the web and app sales they drive to the company.

  • Program rollout —​​ with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Power Five schools up first —​​ begins this fall and wraps by April 2023.

Zooming out: Brands have wasted no time in striking deals since the NIL era began in July — companies are spending an estimated $600 million in the first 12 months alone. Adidas’ commitment is more than innovative strategy — it helps eliminate barriers for underrepresented athletes.

  • Adidas’ decision to launch with HBCUs first should help balance the NIL scales — a December report found white athletes score more deals than their Black counterparts.
  • This level of access may also shrink the NIL gender gap. WNBA star Candace Parker said the Adidas move will “hopefully create a more equal, sustainable landscape.” We couldn't agree more.