German sports retailer Adidas has become the first sports brand to authorise an inclusive Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) network for student-athletes to become paid ambassadors at NCAA Division 1 Adidas-sponsored schools.
The network will have the ability to reach over 50,000 athletes across 23 sports and 109 schools. All student-athletes of all genders will be offered the opportunity to become paid affiliate brand ambassadors.
Over the next 12 months the network will be launched in four phases, however, it will begin with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Power-5 conference partners in autumn 2022 and then scale across other participating schools by April 2023.
Rupert Campbell, president of Adidas North America, said in a statement: “At Adidas, we are committed to creating change through sport and recognise the important role student-athletes play in shaping the future.
“Our groundbreaking NIL program advances our commitments toward building inclusivity in sport and inspires athletes to realise a more equitable world. I can’t wait to see it come to life.”
Additionally, Adidas’s ‘Impossible Is Nothing’ campaign is currently ongoing, which aims to grow accessibility, celebrate inclusivity, and create a more equitable future in the sport. ‘More Is Possible’ shirts will be worn by Adidas teams during warm-ups at both women’s and men’s Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four and National Championship games.
Jim Murphy, Adidas NCAA program Lead, explained: “The Adidas NIL network embodies our belief that sport has the power to change lives by upskilling athletes and giving them the ability to begin to experience an entrepreneurial path that will carry them beyond their college years.
“This is not just a first-of-its-kind program for the brand and industry, it goes much wider by unlocking opportunities in business and life that will enable them as student-athletes to maximize their NIL, opening the doors to future possibilities.”