NIKE READY TO CUT ITS LOSSES ON SPORTS MANAGEMENT ARM?
Nike Sports Management (NSM) is being restructured or
"perhaps eliminated altogether" in an internal
reorganization, according to Jeff Manning in the Portland
OREGONIAN. The 13 NSM athletes will "apparently" stay with
Nike, but be served by another division. Nike was "cagey"
about NSM's fate, and company spokesperson Keith Peters
said, "There has been a shift in focus. We're trying to
maximize what we do best, to maximize our own internal
effort." Peters said NSM has not been formally eliminated,
but added, "That's not to say a week from now, a month from
now, a year from now, the landscape won't have changed."
NSM clients: Ken Griffey Jr., Alonzo Mourning, Deion
Sanders, Picabo Street and Roy Jones Jr. Nike's athlete
relations division will "apparently" take on some of NSM's
responsibilities (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/11).
CONFLICTING STORIES: Industry sources tell Manning
that NSM "has never been much of a financial success" for
Nike, and it often "posed conflicts" with other agents,
teams and leagues. In an effort to minimize conflicts, Nike
had "always farmed out" player contract negotiations and
concentrated on marketing deals. But sources note the main
source of representation income comes from contract deals.
NSM clients mentioned by Manning include Scottie Pippen, who
has stayed with NSM, but hired The Marketing Arm in Dallas
to find him additional endorsement opportunities. Ray
Clark, The Marketing Arm GM: "Scottie did not feel that NSM
was proactive in seeking endorsement deals for him." Nike's
Peters admits some athletes have felt under-utilized or
neglected by Nike: "It helps us refocus on loving these
people to death" (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/11).
JUST READ IT: In BRANDWEEK, Terry Lefton profiles
Nike's brand dominance under the header "Nike Uber Alles."
FootAction President Ralph Parks: "Nike is so widespread
across so many apparel and footwear categories, that right
now I think their biggest competition is themselves. The
brand is becoming bigger than life itself." Lefton writes,
"In simple terms, there's a passion for sports [at Nike]
that exceeds every other (broad-based) competitor, except
No. 4 Adidas, which is why that's the company Nike is really
worried about" (BRANDWEEK, 12/9 issue).
NIKE HITS THE ICE: In AD AGE, Jeff Jensen writes that
Nike has readied an extensive ad campaign for its hockey
equipment debut "weeks ahead of time." Nike will launch the
first spots next week, about a month ahead of its original
launch date (ADVERTISING AGE, 12/9 issue).