FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 13: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back for a pass in the first quarter against the New England Patriots during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 13, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Photograph by Mike Lawrie — Getty Images
By John Kell
September 10, 2015

Adidas has scored a multiyear endorsement deal with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, poaching one of the league’s most highly regarded stars from top rival Nike.

The Super Bowl MVP, who has led the Packers to a postseason berth in each of the last six seasons, intends to collaborate with the German sportswear maker on future product development across footwear, training apparel, and equipment. He will also take a leading role in Adidas marketing campaigns.

“Adidas is an inspiring brand, with a ton of momentum, and this is something I wanted to be part of,” Rodgers said in a statement. Terms of the deal were not announced.

 

The partnership is a high-profile victory for Adidas, which also scored endorsement deals with six first-round picks in the latest NFL draft. Earlier this year, Adidas told Fortune it would sign hundreds of sponsorships with NFL and MLB players, targeting 500 players from those two leagues alone.

The endorsements are part of Adidas’s strategy to regain its footing in the U.S. market, which has seen strong demand for athletic apparel, though Adidas is underperforming market leader Nike (NKE) and has even slipped behind smaller Under Armour (UA).

A few years ago, Adidas notably lost an NFL apparel contract to Nike. The move greatly boosted Nike’s apparel sales in North America but hurt Adidas’s Reebok brand, which originally had the contract. Since then, Adidas has needed to sign individual contracts with athletes to stay competitive.

With Rodgers, Adidas gets a marquee name. The Packers quarterback led his team to a Super Bowl victory in 2010, earned his first league MVP in 2011, and has been selected to the Pro Bowl four times. Rodgers remains under contract with the Packers until 2019.

But while he could compete at a high level for many more years, at 31, Rodgers’s age raises questions about just how long he can remain a high-profile and high-performing athlete. Compare his deal to Under Armour’s sponsorship of 22-year-old golf pro Jordan Spieth, who’s still early in his athletic career. On the other hand, Spieth may never reach the prolonged success that has made Rodgers a bankable name.

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