Tracksmith’s NIL strategy stays true to its core.
What’s happening: The independent running brand announced Tracksmith Varsity Club, an NIL (name, image, and likeness) initiative for student-athletes with post-collegiate dreams.
Open to all NCAA runners, those chosen will receive gear, mentorship, and paid travel to compete overseas in exchange for content creation and community event promotion.
Putting passion before prestige, Tracksmith is holding an open call, asking athletes to submit videos speaking to their love of the sport — a different approach from competitors Nike, NOBULL, and Vuori, who target high-profile prospects.
Amateur hour. No surprise, the apparel maker’s commitment to growing the sport by elevating underdogs has made it a cult-favorite.
- Exclusively sponsoring non-pros, its Amateur Support Program is open to semi-elite runners of all backgrounds.
- Branded media—spanning podcasts, full-length films, and a quarterly magazine—amplifies unsung running heroes.
- Boston-, Brooklyn-, and London-based concept stores connect its community via free runs and events.
And, with revenue spiking 280% from 2019–2022, its trajectory proves the best way to compete with sportswear giants may be to play a different game altogether.
Scouting report. While Tracksmith puts it all together, across the industry, NIL strategies are still taking shape.
- Under Armour enlisted 100 student athletes as short-term campus ambassadors.
- adidas doubled down on women, featuring 15 female athletes in marketing campaigns.
- Women’s basketball sneaker startup Moolah Kicks and volleyball-focused Avoli are leveraging NIL to launch their brands.
Elsewhere, Peloton partnered with University of Michigan Athletics, providing co-branded bikes while enlisting student athletes for content creation.
Takeaway: Running its own race, Tracksmith is focused on sharing relatable stories to sell products—instead of chasing clout—making it all the more attractive to passionate-but-not-professional consumers.