The Cutting Edge: Nike Signs Deal With Second U.S. Olympic Hopeful Figure Skater
Nike is "close to signing U.S. figure skater and Olympic hopeful Gracie Gold," marking the second figure skater to join the company's roster this year, according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Nike earlier this year signed fellow Olympic hopeful Ashley Wagner, and she and Gold are slated to be featured in "public relations and marketing efforts aimed at driving the company's line of women's workout apparel." History has shown apparel and footwear brands traditionally have "refrained from signing figure skaters because the athletes wear costumes in competition rather than branded apparel." However, as the women’s apparel category "has expanded in recent years and become more competitive with retailers like Gap, and the yoga brand Lululemon appealing to new consumers, traditional sportswear companies have looked to broaden their appeal beyond the sports of running, tennis and soccer." The U.S. Figure Skating Association "helped connect Nike with Wagner and Gold." USFSA CMO Ramsey Baker said, "To have them use our athletes and feature them in marketing raises the profile of our athletes and that raises the profile of the sport" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/15 issue).