On Running To Pay More Big Name U.S. College Runners With NIL deals

Brothers Lex and Leo Young among the latest Stanford athletes to sign with On Running

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Throughout an exciting NCAA cross-country season, one unsuspecting brand has entered the world of NIL signings, bringing in some significant names.

On Running is a running shoe and sportswear company that originated in Switzerland. The company was founded by former Swiss Ironman champion Oliver Bernhard alongside David Allemann and Casper Coppetti.

In recent months, On Running has announced a slew of name, image, and likeness (NIL) signings of top-tier NCAA cross-country and track runners.

On Running To Pay More Big Name U.S. College Runners With NIL deals 1

NIL was introduced to the NCAA in June 2021. Prior to NILs, amateurism had been woven into the fabric of NCAA sports, which remained largely unchanged for over a century.

NIL allows student-athletes to earn compensation from a brand for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Pay-for-play and quid pro quo remains against NCAA rules; however, the NIL has created opportunities for student-athletes to benefit financially from their talent and hard work.

What followed were deals being signed by NCAA cross-country and track runners for major brands such as Nike and Adidas, which was expected.

However, On Running has begun to pull in a roster of talented student-athletes, getting their slice of NIL benefit.

Most recently, brothers Lex and Leo Young have inked a deal with On Running. The Young brothers, both of whom attend Stanford University, are not the first of the Cardinal runners to sign with On Running.

Ky Robinson, Juliette Whittaker, Amy Bunnage, and Cole Sprout are all NIL athletes from Stanford who have partnered with the Swiss brand.

Lex Young broke the 5,000m US high school record, running 13:34.96, and just completed his first NCAA cross-country season, finishing 74th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Leo Young boasts a personal best of 3:39.39 in the 1500m, and represented Team USA at the U20 World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia.

There are a number of reasons why On Running may be looking to enter the NIL market.

NILs can be used by brands to leverage their authenticity and relatability by using athletes who have a strong connection to their audience. 

Signed athletes also typically have large followings on social media, which, as a result, increase brand visibility and reach to a wider audience they may not have otherwise reached. On Running may be looking to widen its market by being associated with young athletes.

With large followings, content creation becomes a major component of NIL deals, which again increases brand exposure and awareness.

Associating On Running with respected and admired individuals also creates positive associations for potential consumers. 

With more and more NCAA athletes signing with On Running, it will certainly open the door for the company to reach a wider audience. What are your thoughts about On Running’s NIL signings?

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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