SBD/Issue 195/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

USATF Inks Multi-Year Extension With Longtime Partner Nike

Nike Extends Sponsorship
Of USATF Through '13
USA Track & Field (USATF) Friday announced a new, multi-year agreement with longtime partner Nike. The deal extends through '13 and is valued at more than $10M annually. Nike has been a USATF sponsor since '91. USATF CEO Doug Logan announced the deal at the Track & Field Writers of America breakfast in Eugene, Oregon. Logan said the apparel company has the option to renew the partnership through '17. He added if Chicago wins the right to host the '16 Olympics and Nike exercises that option, a "substantial premium" will be added to the existing deal. Under the deal, Nike maintains its status as the exclusive sponsor and supplier of USATF in the footwear, apparel and retail categories. Meanwhile, Logan said the USATF is pushing ahead with plans for dual meets with the Jamaican national team in April or May of '10. The first competition will take place in Kingston and the second will take place in the U.S. Nike has pledged its support of the event through participation of Nike athletes and additional resources (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal). Sources said that the deal is "valued at more than" $10M a year -- a 30-40% "increase over the last sponsorship." The AP's Eddie Pells noted other parts of the Nike-USATF deal "establish a 'Project 30 Fund' to aid up-and-coming athletes as part of the sport's attempt to overhaul its structure and win 30 medals at the London Olympics." Logan said that Nike was "getting on board in trying to reshape the sometimes toxic relationship between athletes, agents and sponsors that many critics think prevents the sport from moving forward" (AP, 6/26).

BEST CASE SCENARIO: In Chicago, Philip Hersh noted IOC ethics rules "forbid its global sponsors from trying to influence host city elections," but Nike increasing its financial commitment to the USATF should Chicago win the '16 Games is different because it is not a global IOC sponsor. Logan said, "The partnership simply recognizes added value in the event of a domestic (Olympic) competition. You cannot avoid reality. We are certainly not going to attempt to unduly influence anyone." Hersh notes all four bid cities -- Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo -- have corporate sponsors and wrote, "Is anyone naive enough to think those bid sponsors won't be inclined to increase their support for a domestic Olympics?" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 6/26).

TRACK MEET: Logan said of the Univ. of Oregon's Hayward Field hosting the '11 U.S. Championships and '12 Olympic Trials, "I am not necessarily sold on the proposition that we have to take our championships to every nook and cranny in this country. ... What we need is an environment like this. I think we need a combination of excellent venue, a knowing audience, a locality that loves having us back again and again." Meanwhile, Logan said of the sport's drug issue, "If you were to ask me, am I running a clean sport, I would have to answer, I don't know but I suspect not" (Portland OREGONIAN, 6/29).

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