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NIKE READY TO CUT ITS LOSSES ON SPORTS MANAGEMENT ARM?
Published December 11, 1996
Nike Sports Management (NSM) is being restructured or "perhaps eliminated altogether" in an internal reorganization, according to Jeff Manning in the Portland OREGONIAN. The 13 NSM athletes will "apparently" stay with Nike, but be served by another division. Nike was "cagey" about NSM's fate, and company spokesperson Keith Peters said, "There has been a shift in focus. We're trying to maximize what we do best, to maximize our own internal effort." Peters said NSM has not been formally eliminated, but added, "That's not to say a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, the landscape won't have changed." NSM clients: Ken Griffey Jr., Alonzo Mourning, Deion Sanders, Picabo Street and Roy Jones Jr. Nike's athlete relations division will "apparently" take on some of NSM's responsibilities (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/11). CONFLICTING STORIES: Industry sources tell Manning that NSM "has never been much of a financial success" for Nike, and it often "posed conflicts" with other agents, teams and leagues. In an effort to minimize conflicts, Nike had "always farmed out" player contract negotiations and concentrated on marketing deals. But sources note the main source of representation income comes from contract deals. NSM clients mentioned by Manning include Scottie Pippen, who has stayed with NSM, but hired The Marketing Arm in Dallas to find him additional endorsement opportunities. Ray Clark, The Marketing Arm GM: "Scottie did not feel that NSM was proactive in seeking endorsement deals for him." Nike's Peters admits some athletes have felt under-utilized or neglected by Nike: "It helps us refocus on loving these people to death" (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/11). JUST READ IT: In BRANDWEEK, Terry Lefton profiles Nike's brand dominance under the header "Nike Uber Alles." FootAction President Ralph Parks: "Nike is so widespread across so many apparel and footwear categories, that right now I think their biggest competition is themselves. The brand is becoming bigger than life itself." Lefton writes, "In simple terms, there's a passion for sports [at Nike] that exceeds every other (broad-based) competitor, except No. 4 Adidas, which is why that's the company Nike is really worried about" (BRANDWEEK, 12/9 issue). NIKE HITS THE ICE: In AD AGE, Jeff Jensen writes that Nike has readied an extensive ad campaign for its hockey equipment debut "weeks ahead of time." Nike will launch the first spots next week, about a month ahead of its original launch date (ADVERTISING AGE, 12/9 issue).