SBD/August 19, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike Drops Top U.S. Pole Vaulter After He Put Tape Over Logo During Competition

Walker said there is no money in pole vaulting, which is dying a slow death
Nike "withdrew its offer to sponsor" U.S. pole vaulter Brad Walker last week after he "placed tape over the company’s swoosh logo on his shoes during a recent competition," according to Mary Pilon of the N.Y. TIMES. Walker said that he "was not taking a swipe at Nike but was making sure that a Velcro strap stayed tight, an adjustment he said he had frequently made in the past." Walker wrote on his Facebook page, "Big no no. I am no longer a Nike athlete because while trying to use one of their products, I had to use tape to hold together a shoe that shouldn’t break down within 6 months." Walker had been "negotiating a sponsorship contract with Nike for some time, but he said he was not satisfied with the size of the offer." Walker: "There’s no money in the sport anymore, and the shoe company deals reflect that. Basically, it’s getting to the point where it’s hard to make a living in the sport, and unfortunately the sport is dying a slow death. ... I’m the best vaulter in the U.S., and if I can’t get a contract that allows me to live and pay for my training, who in the U.S. can?" Nike "declined to specify why it withdrew its offer." But the company said, "We can confirm an offer was made and the athlete did not take up this option in a timely manner. We wish Brad all the best and continued success" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/17).
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