Nike Looking For Foothold In Lacrosse By Hosting Event For Top High School Players
Nike earlier this week hosted "The Ride" -- an "invitation-only event for the nation's top-ranked boys and girls high school lacrosse players" as the company "is thinking about the growing popularity of the sport in the United States, its wealthier demographic and yet another opportunity to find its way into the nation's high school hallways," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. The two-day event was "patterned after similar events Nike holds for football, basketball and soccer players." Nike "pays for participants' transportation and living expenses." The company in return can "reasonably expect to have a brand convert or even a youngster -- 'an influencer'-- wearing Nike brand clothing and shoes in the schools." Nike "boosted its presence in lacrosse about five years ago." MLL N.Y. Lizards MF Max Seibald, who is sponsored by Nike, said, "It's important for a brand to be authentic to a player. In our little community you can sniff out who's trying to be a poser. It's important to take the time to understand the athlete's needs." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that when it "comes to lacrosse shoes, Nike is gaining on the Warrior brand, the category leader owned by New Balance." Powell added that lacrosse "annual footwear sales in the U.S. total about" $10M. Inside Lacrosse Managing Editor Terry Foy said, "The growth rates are pretty exceptional. It's a very socio-economic appealing demographic -- your brand is in front of a lot of professional people" (Portland OREGONIAN, 7/24).