What does nearly $22,000 get you in track and field these days? Exactly nine square inches of advertising space on two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds right shoulder for the 2016 outdoor track season.
The eBay auction for the rights to advertise on the 32-year-old Symmonds’ skin ended yesterday. John Legere, the outspoken CEO of T-Mobile, posted the winning bid of $21,800. Symmonds made nearly twice what he did when he pulled the same stunt in 2012, when Hanson Dodge Creative, an advertising agency in Milwaukee, Wisc., posted a winning bid of $11,100.
“Happy to do my part to support USA running & this amazing athlete!” Legere Tweeted yesterday. “Now what should I put on @NickSymmonds’ arm??”
Symmonds has long been an advocate for athlete rights. He was left off last summer’s world championships team for refusing to sign a mandatory statement of conditions regarding which brand of apparel athletes are required to wear when representing Team USA at an international competition. Earlier this year, Symmonds’ company, RunGum, sued USA Track & Field, contending that non-shoe and apparel brands should be allowed to have their logos on athletes’ singlets at U.S. championship events. He will don the logo of RunGum, which makes caffienated chewing gum for athletes, and its URL on his left shoulder throughout the 2016 track season.
“The sale of my skin is just another example of an athlete taking control of the valuable space that we own,” Symmonds told ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “Allowing us to better market ourselves will inject tens of millions of dollars into the sport and help professional runners, 50 percent of which now live below the poverty line, make a living.”