U.S. CEO buys ad space on Nick Symmonds’ shoulder for five figures

Advertising space on two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds' shoulder sold for more than US$20,000 on eBay with the online auction having ended on Thursday.

Nick Symmonds

Advertising space on two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds’ shoulder just sold for U.S. $21,800 on eBay and now the auction winner, T-Mobile’s John Legere, is asking the public for help to determine what logo will go on the 22cm block.

The 32-year-old runner ran a similar campaign in 2012 in the lead up to the Olympics with the winning bid on that occasion being U.S. $11,100. Symmonds, a native of Boise, Idaho, is a six-time U.S. national 800m champion and a world championship silver medallist.

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Coincidentally, wireless carrier AT&T is an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. track and field team so Legere’s bid acted as a sort of “take that” to T-Mobile’s competitor. Legere, the chief executive officer and president of T-Mobile US, posted a Twitter poll to help decide what he will be putting on Symmonds’ shoulder.

Options include:

– #WeWontStop
– American Flag
– I Run Good
– F^@% AT&T with an emoji

The latter option is well ahead of the rest with 47 per cent of the vote. The American flag is the next most popular vote with 25 per cent of the public agreeing. Legere has more than 2.4 million followers, 7,000 of which have voiced their opinion via the poll, on Twitter.

The auction closed on Thursday, May 5 and had more than 100 bids. Symmonds will wear the tattoo of Legere’s choice for races throughout the summer including the Olympics. However, because of certain rules governing an athletes’ sponsorship, Symmonds may have to cover up his shoulder with tape.

RELATED: T-Mobile US CEO John Legere opens up wallet to runners at local road race.

Legere has been an avid supporter of the running community and recently opened up his wallet to entrants at a local road race to offer prize money and sweeten the pot to encourage fast times.

Only Symmonds’ right shoulder was up for bidding. His left shoulder is reserved for advertising space for Run Gum, a caffeinated gum company that Symmonds co-founded.

Symmonds is well-known for being left off the U.S. world championship team last summer for refusing to sign a U.S. track and field statement of conditions, which required athletes to wear Nike apparel during the event. Symmonds is a Brooks-sponsored runner though he was a Nike athlete earlier in his career.

Legere has also been vocal about athletes’ limitations on sponsorship deals. The man behind T-Mobile US told ESPN that “we don’t put up with bureaucratic b.s.” adding that “the IOC [International Olympic Committee] makes billions off sponsorship deals. I’d like to see more of that money find its way to the athletes who deserve it most.”

Though Symmonds has yet to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, the 800m specialist is expected to be a favourite in what is his specialty race.