NFL Draft Day has arrived once again, and athletic brands are going to be watching the buzzy new talent closely.
While the first round kicks off tonight in Chicago, brands have a few choice names to choose from for possible sponsorships, though the biggest names are already off the table.
University of Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota and Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston were picked up by Nike two weeks ago, and already, Mariota has his own Nike sneaker.
The Lunar Force 1 created especially for Mariota on Draft Day takes inspiration from Mariota’s hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii. The wood box is crafted from Koa wood, which is a tree native to the Hawaiian islands and the shoe stamped with 808 (Mariota’s hometown area code). The 808 is also a nod towards the number 8 which he’s worn throughout his career, and the fact he’s the 80th winner of the Heisman Trophy.
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Though Winston and Mariota are widely expected to be the first and second picks of the night, there are plenty of other talented names going to be in the race for a big sponsorship. Kevin White from West Virginia University, Amari Cooper of the University of Alabama and Dante Fowler of University of Florida.
While the race for new talent kicks off, it won’t be all big dollars for sponsorship deals.
“The one thing about NFL deals is that football players aren’t as big for endorsements and generally get paid less. It’s because the NBA players can sell a basketball shoe but football doesn’t really have the ability to sell shoes,” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst at NPD Group.
More on the shoe front. Dante Fowler has made his red carpet appearance wearing gold Christian Louboutins.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 30, 2015