You see that guy right there? That would be U.S. track and field runner Nick Symmonds. Turns out that Symmonds is a master at marketing, because he just sold nine-square inches of real estate on his right shoulder for an insane $21,800, which was bought by T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
This isn’t an unprecedented move by Symmonds, though, as the runner did the exact same thing ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics, with the winning bidder spending “just” $11,100 back then. However, due to rules restrictions prohibiting competitors from wearing sponsorships, the athlete had to cover it up.
While that wasn’t great news for the company that bought the skin space, Hanson Dodge Creative, the attention it warranted was well-worth the price, as Symmonds pointed out, per FTW.USAToday:
Due to antiquated rules, during all IAAF, USOC, and IOC governed competitions, I will be forced to tape over all forms of advertising on my body except the logos of my apparel and equipment manufacturers. Though these absurd rules certainly diminish an investment in an athlete, please know that I will put in extra effort to ensure that the winner of this auction realizes a fantastic return on investment.
Although Symmonds still has to qualify for the Olympics, he is set to run in the U.S. track and field trials in early-June, meaning T-Mobile’s Legere may get his money worth then.
Either way, this is a unique way for a company to get its name out there without spending millions of dollars to participate as an official supporter—plus, Nick Symmonds picked up a hell of a lot of chump change for doing next to nothing.