Adidas Enters NIL Era With Nationwide Ambassador Program

    • On Wednesday, the sportswear giant announced the launch of a nationwide NIL program.
    • All athletes at Division I schools with Adidas partners will be eligible — more than 50,000 athletes at 109 schools across 23 sports.

Adidas is entering the name, image, and likeness space — in a much different way than other major sports brands.

On Wednesday, the sportswear giant announced the launch of a nationwide NIL program. All athletes at Division I schools with Adidas partners will be eligible — more than 50,000 athletes at 109 schools across 23 sports.

The program deviates from the approach of other major companies like Nike and Gatorade, which have targeted specific athletes. But it’s one of a growing number of brands creating NIL initiatives that mirror campus ambassador programs.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Athletes can earn a percentage of sales they drive through an affiliate program, a spokesperson told Front Office Sports. They can also earn money based on crafting social posts.
  • As the movement rolls out, Adidas is also considering opportunities for athletes to be featured in campaigns.
  • Compensation will partially depend on how many athletes choose to participate.

The company will begin the rollout in Fall 2022 with athletes at Power 5 schools and HBCUs.

Elevating Women’s Sports

Adidas is positioning the NIL program as part of its “Impossible is Nothing” campaign dedicated to inclusivity and equity in sports. 

WNBA star Candace Parker called the program “an incredible step forward for the growth of women’s sports.”

During the rest of March Madness, Adidas men’s and women’s teams will also have warm-up shirts that say “More Is Possible” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX.