Adidas is upping the ante at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, as players are now running the 40-yard dash for a guaranteed endorsement deal from the shoe giant.
According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the company advertised the arrangement on billboards in Indianapolis and in The Indianapolis Star. Adidas spokesman Michael Ehrlich did not comment on how much money the contract offer would be worth but did confirm that the company will, in fact, make an offer. Per Rovell:
The company is using the ads to promote its lightweight adiZero 5-star prime cleats, which weigh 5.3 oz. Players can run in Adidas shoes should they choose, but a competitor, Under Armour, has the marketing rights to the combine. Players who sign with Adidas can not wear the company's logos on the playing field because Adidas doesn't have a marketing deal with the NFL, unlike Nike and Under Armour.
The scouting combine has become a huge event with plenty of exposure recently.
The 40-yard dash has become the most popular event at the combine, and Adidas obviously wants to capitalize on the opportunity to advertise.
The fastest man at the combine usually becomes a hot name regardless of where they get drafted, so it makes sense that the company would want the speedster selling their lightweight shoes.
Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson ran the fastest 40 at the combine last year with a time of 4.29 seconds, although Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill wasn't far behind at 4.30.
Texas wide receiver (and 2012 Team USA Olympic long jumper) Marquise Goodwin and Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson are expected to be among the fastest runners at this year's event. They will run on Sunday.
The 40-yard dash is already the most highly anticipated event of the weekend. Adidas has just raised the stakes by turning it into a true "dash for the cash."