If Adidas has its way, the sportswear company may hand over $1 million to a super-fast prospect at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine.
Although the combine is sponsored by rival sportswear company Under Armour, Adidas is hoping to overshadow them by offering $1 million to any athlete who breaks the NFL Combine’s record in the 40-yard dash, 4.24 seconds by Chris Johnson in 2008, while wearing Adidas’ new “adizero 5-star 40” cleats. Adidas tweeted, “They sponsor it, but we own it. Break the 40-yard dash record in adizero, win $1 million.”
Adidas has created a no-lose proposition, according to Apex Marketing Group; if no one breaks the record, Adidas will rake in roughly $1.78 million in advertising; if someone does break the record, the equivalent advertising value for Adidas could soar to $2.27 million.
Eric Smallwood, Apex Marketing Group’s managing director, told FOXBusiness.com:
No matter what happens, for Adidas, it’s a positive. People that would not be talking about Adidas associated with the Combine are talking about it. What do they have to lose, from a marketing standpoint? If they have somebody break the record and give $1 million, they’re going to use the heck out of that promotion. They’re going to, ideally, sign that athlete.
Adidas’ $19 billion annual revenue dwarfs Under Armour’s $3.9 billion, but Under Armour superseded Adidas in the American marketplace, now ranking second.
The University of Georgia’s Keith Marshall appeared to be the frontrunner to grab the $1 million; on Friday he ran an official time of 4.31, barely missing Johnson’s record. The fact that Marshall tore his ACL in 2013, playing only eight games in 2013 and 2014 combined, makes his feat even more remarkable.
Before the combine, Marshall told Rivals.com, “I’m not going to throw any numbers out there, but I expect to be fast. I’ve run some crazy 40 times, we’ll see, I’m not going to throw out any times, but I’m right where I need to be.”
He said his prior injuries would not plague him, attesting, “There wasn’t so much concern, they just wanted to talk and get a feel for me. We did medical yesterday (Wednesday) and everything checked out 100 percent, the doctors said it looked as good as it possibly could. So that’s great, it’s a blessing, so now just a matter of me getting to know everyone and talk about the process.”
Marshall’s time on Friday topped all running backs; he also topped the position’s bench press list with 25 reps of 225 pounds.