Adidas blocked from giving Porsches to NFL prospects... so they gave them $100,000 instead
Athlete endorsements are about as old as sport themselves. Hell, sponsroship deals are now intextricably entertwined among the college basketball elite — behind the comfy comfines of loopholes. Adidas has its ABCD Basketball camp, where the country's creme of the crop go for an "all-expenses paid" vacation to the finest skills and training program in the country. Hell, Nike had Michael Jordan attending Lebron James games just to give him a "pep talk." And why not? Getting in the good graces of a potential million-dollar brand-builder could make or break your company. Nike doesn't have the top brand because they understood spandex and swooshes. They have a great brand because of a solid image, derived around the top athletes in every sport. Each year, the recruiting techniques get bigger and better, with a continual push to keep it interesting. Enter Adidas.
To combat a slipping market share in the US that they've lost to Under Armour, the number 2 sportswear company in the US based on sales behind Nike, the German sportswear and sneaker company has vowed to increase is annual athlete sponsorships in the two sports where sales are stumbling; American football and baseball. The goal is to sign 500 athletes this year alone. And Adidas has already started going after NFL prospects at this year's combine.
The deal? The fastest 40 athletes at the combine wearing Adidas' Uncaged Adizero 5-star 4.0 cleats receives a brand new Porsche. But the NFL nixed that idea faster than Ray Rice after deciding that the sponsorship conflicted with its current league sponsorship with General Motors. Fucking politics. So Adidas unfortunately had to instead give out $100,000 prizes to each of the 40 athletes. How they'll survive on that amount of money is anyone's guess.
Ironically, the players got the better end of the deal as a Porsche costs $83,000. Although sadly, they'll have to wear Adidas cleats for their entire NFL career. Still, sponsorships are only getting worse. As college athletes become deprived of the financing they need to compete in NCAA sports and thus are forced to other means of living, the more likely they are to push for larger sponsorship pay and bonuses. This in turn perpetuates the growing discomfort with money in sports. Let's get it right at the beginning of a athletes career, when they are in college.