SBD/October 4, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBA Lockout Watch, Day 96: adidas, Nike Look To Push Product In College, International

Nike will use college basketball games as a stage for product debuts
Nike and adidas have “expressed confidence that their growing hoops businesses can still thrive” despite the ongoing NBA lockout, according to Erik Siemers of the PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL. While analysts agree that “demand for basketball shoes should withstand the NBA’s ongoing labor dispute, the same can’t be said for sportswear -- particularly licensed apparel.” And that “spells trouble” for adidas, which is in the “fifth year of a reported $400 million, 11-year deal to be the NBA’s official uniform and apparel supplier.” It is unclear whether adidas’ contract with the league “offers any contingency plans in the event of a work stoppage.” adidas VP/Global Basketball Lawrence Norman said that the company’s basketball business grew 25% in the last quarter and “he’s confident that the momentum will continue.” Siemers notes adidas has not disclosed the value of its NBA licensing deal, but “at least two analysts estimated it to be worth as much as $300 million per year in revenue.” Meanwhile, Nike Brand President Charlie Denson last week said that the company “is preparing several scenarios, including using the college games as a stage for product debuts.” Denson: “You may see some of the NBA players’ signature models maybe show up on some college teams where maybe you wouldn’t have seen that if we were launching with the player himself. We can’t wait to get (the product) into the marketplace. So we’ll find the best vehicle that exists, depending on how this whole thing plays itself out.” adidas also “has its eye on the college game and Europe.” Norman said, “We’ll also have great on-court presence with our college programs and international teams” (PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/30 issue).
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