Nike Covered Bases, Minimized Risk By Outfitting Every Olympic Hockey Team
Nike's sweep in the medal rounds of men's and women's ice hockey in Sochi "deserves consideration before these Olympic games fade completely from memory," as the brand "may have crafted the magic formula to maximize marketing power and avoid brand embarrassment," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. From the start of the tourney, Nike "was assured of the gold medal," as the brand sponsored all men's and women's teams. Canada (men's and women's Gold Medal), Sweden (men's Silver Medal), Finland (men's Bronze Medal), the U.S. (women's Silver Medal), Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland (women's Bronze Medal), Slovakia, Norway, Latvia, Austria, Slovenia, Japan and Germany "all wore a Swoosh." A Nike spokesperson said that the company has "outfitted the Winter Olympics hockey teams for the past five Olympics." Nike in the FIFA World Cup and NCAA basketball "makes an educated guess and spends its considerable resources as wisely as possible to choose teams that will make it to later rounds, or even win." However, "no such gambling took place in international hockey." Nike's brand presence at the Olympics was "limited to the jersey, pants and socks." Meanwhile, the company "also outfitted 10 other nations or federations that did not qualify for the Olympic games." Nike "wants to increase its market share in Russia, where Adidas still leads." Nike to pull that off "could do worse than to latch onto the cold-weather, limited-participation sport of ice hockey" (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/28).