SBD/March 8, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Manning's Free Agency A Boon For Nike As New NFL Apparel Partner

Manning’s jersey ranked 18th among best sellers from April '11 to February '12
QB Peyton Manning’s free agency could be “good news for Nike,” which replaces Reebok next month as the maker of NFL-branded apparel and uniforms, according to Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Edward Jones & Co. analyst Matt Arnold said that having a player of Manning’s "ability and popularity changing uniforms is a boon for Nike, which won’t only sell a lot of jerseys but utilize the offseason news to remind consumers of its relationship” with the NFL. SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said, “This is a big deal for Nike because retailers are going to have to fill up their racks again. Add on top of that a player like Manning changing teams -- that’ll help also.” Soshnick noted elite players who switch teams “usually sell a lot of jerseys.” The NFL reported that Brett Favre's No. 4 Jets jersey “was the No. 1 seller from April 2008 to March 2009 following his move” to the team from the Packers; he ranked third the previous year. Manning’s jersey “ranked 18th among best sellers from April 2011 to February 2012, even though he didn’t play last season while recovering from neck surgery” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/7). Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Kristine Guerra notes prior to yesterday’s announcement that the Colts would release Manning, fans had been “coming to local and online stores to secure what they saw was their last chance to get a piece of the quarterback.” Indianapolis-based MainGate Dir of Brand Management & Marketing Samantha Barton, whose company is the Colts’ merchandising partner, said that the “majority of the orders on Coltsproshop.com over the past few days contain a Manning merchandise.” Barton said that among the popular items lately are “a vintage Peyton Manning poster and Manning Colts T-shirts for men and women.” Indianapolis-based Collectors Den GM Matt Hanlon said that “pictures are becoming more popular lately, particularly those" from Super Bowl XLI, where Manning was voted the game's MVP (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/8).

THE SLINGIN' SALESMAN: USA TODAY’s Tom Weir wonders if Manning is “the best pitchman in the history of pro sports.” Basketball HOFer Michael Jordan and Pro Football HOFer John Madden “might be his only rivals for that title, and Manning has set himself apart with a knack for engaging the camera” as well as his play on the field (USA TODAY, 3/8). Manning ranked fourth on THE DAILY's list of the most marketable NFL players despite missing the entire '11 season.
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