SBD/11/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

NIKE READY TO CUT ITS LOSSES ON SPORTS MANAGEMENT ARM?

          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).

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Nike, Washington Nationals

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