SBD/December 6, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

If The Shoe Fits: LeBron Frequently Opting For Last Year's Nike Model

James expects to return to wearing the 11s full time in a matter of weeks
Heat F LeBron James has worn the new Nike Lebron 11 shoes "for only two full games" so far this season, "spending most of his time on court wearing last year's LeBron X model," according to Sara Germano of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. James "on a few occasions" started a game in his latest shoe "but partway through switched into last season's model." During Tuesday's game against the Pistons, he "sported a version of the older LeBrons from the opening tip." James' manager Maverick Carter said that the issue "isn't that the star doesn't like the latest edition of his shoes." Carter added that James instead has been "making tweaks to the shoe and expects to return to wearing the 11s full time in a matter of weeks." Carter said of the shoes, "It's not that they hurt. It's just to make the shoe exactly perfect." Nike in a statement called the LeBron 11 "one of the most innovative Nike basketball shoes to date, and we look forward to LeBron stepping back on the court in his latest signature shoe soon." Germano notes none of this "seems to matter to Nike's fans." SportsOneSource data shows that unit sales of LeBron 11 sneakers "are up 18% so far this season over sales of the LeBron X over the same period a year ago." Revenue collected from the 11s is "up 35% over that period, owing in part to a slight price increase" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/6).

ALL ABOUT THE MONEY? CNBC's Jane Wells on Thursday spoke with Lakers G Kobe Bryant about his new Kobe Elite 9 sneaker and his other endorsements. Wells asked about Bryant's endorsement of Turkish Airlines "which seems an odd fit" and said to Bryant, "Is it just the money?" Bryant: "Turkish Airlines wants to do some pretty innovative things in terms of how they provide service for their customers." Bryant said before signing with them, "We did our research and you really track well here in Turkey and it really makes sense in terms of how you grew up and the world kind of being a smaller place for you because you've traveled abroad and kind of have that influence" ("Street Signs," CNBC, 12/5).
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