Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2017, click here.
ASU and adidas today announced the adidas and Arizona State University Global Sport Alliance, a strategic partnership aimed at shaping the future of sport and amplifying sport’s positive impact on society. Bringing together education, athletics, research and innovation, the Global Sport Alliance will explore topics including diversity, race, sustainability and human potential, all through the lens of sport.
Going beyond a traditional athletic partnership, the Global Sport Alliance will harness resources across the entire university and leverage adidas’ global reach. This new, comprehensive partnership connects students, faculty, employees, researchers, engineers and a global network of thought leaders and partners to develop and exchange ideas, undertake joint inquiries and research, inspire people to act on key findings and transform ideas into reality in measurable ways.
“Few things in life bind people together more than passion for and participation in sport,” ASU President Michael Crow said. “adidas and Arizona State University have come together because we have a common commitment to having a real-time, positive impact on the world and we see the power of sport to influence human success. We both seek to empower people, improve health and well-being, and inspire action through teaching, learning and community engagement. ASU, energetically focused on innovation and creative problem-solving, is a ready-made action lab to help extend adidas’ ideas and creative energy.”
The partnership will explore topics including athlete potential, consumer behavior and insight, product materials and innovations, new educational opportunities and more. Investigating the role diversity and race plays in sport, the Global Sport Alliance provides a platform for exploration into fan behavior toward athletes, underrepresentation within coaching ranks and team ownership, bias issues related to officiating, and racial background and how it effects sport participation.
Sustainability is another key theme for the alliance, which aims to explore the entire lifecycle of sport — where it’s made, played and sold. The alliance will invite examination into topics such as sustainability education, traceability in product supply chain, the creation of sustainable materials and new recycling solutions.
“We’re ... exploring things like diversity, sustainability and human potential. Sport is so much bigger than the game. We believe through sport, we have the power to change lives.”
— adidas North America President Mark King
In addition, the alliance will investigate health in sports, looking at athletes holistically and exploring how to maximize human potential. One topic adidas and ASU will consider exploring is tailored programs that encompass nutrition, mind-set, movement, recovery and product.
“adidas and ASU see the world as a place to be disrupted,” said adidas North America President Mark King. “When you combine the world-class resources of ASU with the global power of adidas, extraordinary things can happen. We’re coming together to test the boundaries of the universe and make quantum leaps in what our future looks like. We’re looking at the world through the lens of sport and exploring things like diversity, sustainability and human potential. Sport is so much bigger than the game. We believe through sport, we have the power to change lives. adidas and ASU have a shared passion for innovation and creativity, for leading change and finding what’s next. With the Global Sport Alliance, we’re on a quest to explore the unknown. We want the whole world to benefit from what we discover.”
A key component of the Global Sport Alliance is the Global Sport Institute (GSI), designed to connect people to the power of sport by translating and amplifying complex sports research to broad, global audiences. GSI will convene public events, engage leading sports figures and publish research findings through reports, infographics, podcasts and social media. Kenneth L. Shropshire, an international expert at the intersection of sports, business, law and society, will lead GSI as CEO and join ASU as the Distinguished Professor in Global Sports, a position created by adidas.
“The Global Sport Institute will support collaborative inquiry and research that examines critical issues impacting sport and all those connected with sport,” Shropshire said. “GSI's purpose will be to transform the resulting findings into practical knowledge that is widely shared, educating and influencing audiences.”
The announcement of the alliance rapidly advances the connection between adidas and ASU, two organizations that epitomize innovation and creativity. ASU was named the nation’s No. 1 most innovative university by U.S. News & World Report in 2015 and 2016, ahead of Stanford and MIT. adidas highlights open-source innovation as a top strategic choice in its global business plan, working with partners around the world to increase creative capital, gain new perspectives and make new things. In 2014, the organizations announced a partnership for adidas to be the official brand of Sun Devil Athletics.
For more information about the Global Sport Alliance, visit adidas.asu.edu.
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