Arizona State Joins Adidas on its Mission to Change the World Through Sport

Arizona State University
The Arizona State University overpass on its Tempe, Ariz. campus.
REX Shutterstock

Adidas wants to make the world a better place through sport. And to help accomplish its mission, the brand has teamed up with one of the most innovative colleges in the country.

The athletic staple announced today that it has formed the Global Sport Alliance with Arizona State University. The goal of the partnership, according to Adidas, is to shape the future of sport and also boost sport’s positive impact on society. To do this, the two will use education, athletics, research and innovation.

“It’s a really exciting aspiration where you have two very different types of institutions, one is a university and one is a sports company, that is going to dedicate resources for the good of society,” Mark King, president of Adidas North America, told Footwear News. “But we’ve got to be able to do something. Today, it’s an aspiration. We’re just getting started.”

Mark King, president of Adidas North America Mark King, president of Adidas North America. Adidas

Adidas and ASU, through the Alliance, will address human potential, consumer behavior and insight, product materials and innovations, diversity and race, sustainability, health and more through the lens of sport. Although a list of topics exists and is growing, King admitted to FN that the Alliance hasn’t yet chosen one for its first project.

King explained to FN that the Alliance was not a plan when Adidas agreed to outfit ASU athletics in 2014, but instead came about organically with the institution roughly a year and a half later.

With the creation of the Alliance also comes the birth of the Global Sport Institute, led by author and professor Kenneth Shropshire, which Adidas stated will translate the research and deliver it to a global audience.

“The Global Sport Institute will support collaborative inquiry and research that examines critical issues impacting sport and all those connected with sport,” Shropshire said in a statement. “GSI’s purpose will be to transform the resulting findings into practical knowledge that is widely shared, educating and influencing audiences.”

To engage a worldwide audience, GSI will host events, publish reports, release podcasts, communicate via social media and more. Adidas confirmed that GSI will be based on ASU’s Tempe campus and work closely with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Shropshire will not only lead GSI as its CEO, but he will also join ASU as the Distinguished Professor in Global Sports position that was formed by Adidas.