BrandDunk

Branding the World of Sports

Archive for the ‘Apparel & Shoes’ Category

Adidas launches Star Wars themed collection

Posted by ZA on January 18, 2010

Nice opportunity for Adidas to tap into the hardcore Star Wars fan market.  Passionate Star Wars fan are going to buy and wear the gear, which should generate some strong revenue and brand awareness for Adidas.  My only question is will Adidas or Nike be the first to cut the same type of deal with Star Trek, everyone knows those Trekkies have huge buying power.

See the new Adidas Star Wars clothes and shoes.

Advertisements

Posted in Adidas | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Evaluating my 2009 Sports Marketing predictions

Posted by ZA on January 3, 2010

Time to take a look back and evaluate how I did on my 2009 predictions for the world of Sports Marketing. I posted my “bold predictions” on January 2, 2009 as a wide ranging look at some of the big moves I thought would happen in the industry.  I made seven predictions and wind up getting almost half of them correct.

Prediction: Tiger Woods will sign with Mercedes or BMW.

Result: This one did not happen, but who could have predicted the implosion that would happen to Tiger Woods the endorsement star in 2009.  Tiger is currently losing endorsements by the week, but I still think this prediction will eventually come true.  Companies will stay away from Woods for awhile, but when they do come back I expect Tiger to pickup a luxury car endorsement deal.

Prediction: Wrigley Field gets a new name.

Result: This one didn’t happen, although the Cubs were finally sold at the end of the year so it could be on-tap for 2010.

Prediction: AIG will end uniform sponsorship with Manchester United.
Result: I got this one right.  Shortly after writing these predictions word came out that AIG would discontinue their deal with Man U.  AIG actually just chose not to renew their deal, but close enough I got this one right.

Prediction: NASCAR will cut races.

Result: It was a tough year for Nascar with a tough economy and huge losses in the auto industry both hurting the sport.  The end result was that some races were not return to the schedule (e.g.- Milwaukee Mile in 2010).

Prediction: Reebok will be folded by Adidas.

Result: This did not happen, and with parent company, Adidas’ stock up 20% in 2009, the Reebok brand might be safe for awhile.  That said, I still think we’re still headed towards an Adidas versus Nike world, so at some point Adidas is going to put Reebok down.

Prediction: Under Armour will be acquired by Nike.

Result: This did not happen, but I still feel it’s one that could happen soon.  Under Armour’s stock is only up slightly since beginning of ’09 and UA stock took a pounding in October when they missed the mark with their expansion into running shoes.  Nike is still flying high and has a $30 billion market cap, so I think they eventually make this acquisition to eliminate a big competitor.

Prediction: David Beckham goes back to Europe.
Result: Nailed this prediction.  Becks came, he played a little bit and created a sensation.  Then David high tailed it back to the Spanish Premiere League.  I think Beckham likes the idea of playing in America, but isn’t really interested in doing it just yet.

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, Golf, Nascar, Nike, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing, Under Armour, Venue Naming Rights | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Will Tiger return any money to Nike?

Posted by ZA on December 17, 2009

As the scandal around golfer Tiger Woods rages on, sales of Nike Golf apparel are dropping.  Retailers are no longer pushing the Tiger Woods branded Nike Golf line and his absence from the PGA Tour is only going to continue to hurt sales.  Bloomberg estimates that Nike stands to lose approximately $30 million in sales from the current Tiger scandal.  A former CBS Sports executive says “The aura (around Tiger) is gone”.

So the question is will Tiger give any of that money back to Nike?  Woods is almost solely responsible for building Nike Golf division into a half a billion dollar cash cow.  For that Tiger has been paid over $100 million dollars by Nike in his career.  So will Tiger consider giving some of that money back to Nike now – when it’s clear that Tiger’s personal actions are hurting the corporate giant.  I doubt that Tiger would ever hand over a check to Phil Knight, but I do think this will prompt Tiger to give Nike a sweetheart deal whenever his current contract expires.  Sure Tiger has made more money for Phil Knight than Knight has paid to Woods, but Knight & Nike have also stood by Tiger during this scandal.  Knight is the only sponsor who has vocally supported Woods saying that Tiger’s transgressions are just a “minor blip” on his great career.   I’m betting that Phil Knight gets a nice holiday card from Tiger this year.

Posted in Athletes, Golf, Nike | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Endorsement Profile: Maria Sharapova

Posted by ZA on December 11, 2009

Athlete: Maria Sharapova
Sport: Tennis
League: WTA
Agent: IMG (Max Eisenbud)
Age: 22   (April 19, 1987)
Rank in SI’s richest athletes: 13 (International list)

Maria Sharapova endorsement deals (thru Dec. 2009):
* Canon
* Cole Haan
* Land Rover
* Nike (athletic shoes & apparel)
* Parlux Fragrances (perfume)
* Prince (tennis racquets)
* Sony Ericsson
* Tag Heuer
* Tiffany & Co

Former Sharapova endorsement deals:
Colgate-Palmolive, Gatorade, Motorola & Tropicana


Maria Sharapova endorsement potential:
Maria Sharapova is the top female endorsement star in the sports world.  Sharapova has competition from Venus & Serena Williams, Danica Patrick, Michelle Wie and Lorena Ochoa; but Maria is still the top endorser among female athletes.  Sharapova’s endorsement success has been helped by her good looks; she was named in 2005 as one of People magazine’s 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world.  But Sharapova is not just another pretty face (i.e.- Anna Kournikova), she is one of the top players in tennis who has won 3 of the 4 tennis major tournaments.

Only in her early 20’s Sharapova is already a global brand, which her sponsors take advantage of by featuring her in advertisements in the United States, Europe and Asia.  She is from Russia, but does not endorse any Russian companies.  But her lineup of endorsement deals is the envy of any athlete in the world.  She has some of the biggest companies on the planet tailoring their marketing campaigns around her name.  Canon has featured Sharapova in new product launches which were so successful that they even made Maria’s dog a star.

What’s next for the tennis superstar slash celebrity slash endorsement queen?  Maybe retirement.  Maria has made comments that she doesn’t plan to play tennis for her another decade.  She’s said she would like to follow the lead of Justine Henin and retire young so she can pursue other life goals.  That means that sponsors who wish to align their brand with the top earning female athlete on the planet better hurry up.  Maria Sharapova is in her prime as an endorsement star, but there may not be that many years left for advertisers to sign her if she decides to follow her dreams to raise a family.

Maria Sharapova commercial for Canon:

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Athletes, Endorsement Deals, Endorsement Profile | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Endorsement Profile: Tiger Woods

Posted by ZA on December 3, 2009

Athlete: Tiger Woods
Sport: Golf
League: PGA
Agent: Mark Steinberg (IMG)
Age: 33 (December 30, 1975)
Rank in SI’s 50 richest athletes:  1st
Endorsement value:  $105,000,000.00

Tiger Woods endorsement deals (thru Nov. 2009):
* AT&T
* Gatorade (Pepsico)
* Gillette (Procter & Gamble)
* EA Sports (Electronic Arts)
* NetJets
* Nike Golf
* Tag Heuer
* TLC Vision Corporation
* Upper Deck

Tiger Woods endorsement potential:
Tiger Woods is the top athlete endorser in the world today.  He is the Cadillac of athlete endorsements (even if he occasionally drives erratically in his own Escalade).  Every major corporation wants him, but few can afford him.  Woods has even surged past sports brand icon Michael Jordan in-terms of earnings; Tiger is first athlete in sports to earn more than $1 billion dollars in their career.  Much of that money comes from the rich endorsement deals that Tiger has had for over a decade.

Tiger’s endorsement history is legendary, starting with a $40 million contract from Nike when he turned pro in 1996.  Tiger basically made Nike Golf what it is today and Phil Knight rewarded him handsomely with a $100 million extension in 2006.  Tiger has become the driving force behind Nike Golf, even as they have added other big name golfers to their endorsement stable (i.e.- Stewart Cink, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard).  Woods is a poster boy for their product line, having dropped his lucrative Titleist sponsorship when he switched to play a Nike golf ball.

Much of Woods appeal as an endorsement star has to do with his phenomenal ability on the golf course.  Tiger grabbed the sport of golf by the throat and has not yet let go; in a sport with some of the biggest endorsement stars on the planet (Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer) Tiger is the king.  It only helps that golf’s demographic is one that appeals to the bluest of blue chip companies; businesses that want their product featured (by Tiger Woods) to that affluent golf crowd.  Tiger’s so marketable that even his caddy, Steve Williams, has grabbed endorsement deals with Nike and Valvoline.  Let that sink in for a second…even Tiger Woods’ caddy has major corporations paying him money to endorse their product.

Perhaps the truest test of Tiger Woods endorsement appeal is understood by looking at the list of corporations that he used to endorse.  Tiger’s former deals with Accenture, American Express, Buick, General Mills, Titleist and Rolex would be the envy of most athletes, yet Woods has just moved on to bigger, more lucrative deals.

Tiger Woods has truly changed the game in-terms of endorsement deals.  Like Jordan did before him, Woods seeks out “business partnerships” rather than just contractual endorsement deals.  He is setting the standard today on how athletes and sponsors partner up.  His deals are making sports stars, like Tiger, more money from corporate sponsors than they have ever earned before.

Tiger Woods commercial for Nike Golf:
[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oTMosZ76b8]

[Edit: Accenture dropped their endorsement deal with Tiger Woods in December 2009 – a few days after this post]

Posted in Endorsement Deals, Endorsement Profile, Gatorade, Golf, Nike, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

What does Nike spend on marketing?

Posted by ZA on November 12, 2009

Nike is one of the top brands in sports and the #1 shoemaker in the world.  The athletic apparel and footwear giant was founded in 1964 by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman.  Formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports, the company now has recognizable brands across many sectors: Nike, Jordan Brand, Nike Golf, Converse, Hurley, Nike Soccer, Umbro and Cole Haan.

Nike has more than 30% global market share in the athletic footwear category and almost 10% share of the athletic apparel market.  Nike’s market share in the United States is higher, they have almost 40% of the U.S. market.  Nike had almost $19 billion in global revenue in 2008 (source).

Nike reinvests approximately 12% of their revenue into marketing, which includes advertising, endorsements and sponsorship deals.  In 2008, Nike spent almost $3 billion dollars on marketingNike’s U.S. budget is close to $800 million. Nike is seeing strong results from their spending because their 3 top brands (Nike, Jordan, Converse) grew 11% in September, while competitors Adidas, Reebok and New Balance fell by an equal amount (source: AdAge).

Top Marketing Execs at Nike:
Phil Knight – Chairman/Founder
Mark Parker – President & CEO
Charlie Denson – President, Nike Brand
Ken Dice – VP, Marketing – North America
Trevor Edwards – VP, Global Brand
Joaquin Hidalgo – VP, Brand Marketing
Keith Houlemard – President, Jordan Brand
Jared Morris – US Marketing
John Slusher – VP, Global Sports Marketing
Howard White – VP, Sports Marketing – Jordan Brand

nike_swoosh

Posted in Nike | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Under Armour too aggressive in footwear?

Posted by ZA on November 3, 2009

Under Armour has been a favorite brand in the sports world for over a decade.  The Under Armour story has been a case study in success; a tiny company that makes good competing against the giants in their space (i.e.- Nike & Adidas).  They’ve grown up a lot from those early days in founder Kevin Plank’s basement; Under Armour is now a publicly traded company (NYSE: UA) with almost a billion dollars in revenue.

One of the characteristics that has made Under Armour successful is their aggressive attitude towards growth.  They quickly diversified from an innovative apparel company into many other facets of the sportswear industry, including athletic footwear.  With each new expansion of their business they seemed to thumb their nose at the established players in that space and set their sights on domination.  Under Armour’s bravado was never more obvious then when they used the tagline “The future is ours” during their 2008 Super Bowl spot.  But these days Under Armour is discovering that being one of the biggest brands in their space, a successful publicly traded company, has some downside.

Under Armour expansion into footwear has not gone as smoothly as planned, which has caused analysts and investors to loudly criticize UA’s moves thereby pummeling their stock price.  This AdAge article says that analysts have characterized Under Armour’s moves as “weak”; particularly the decision by the company to pull back on how aggressively they plan to expand their shoe line.    The negative attention has caused Under Armour’s stock price to drop dramatically to $26 per share from its previous 52-week high of $33 per share (Source: Yahoo Finance).  It also means that Under Armour has some tough sledding ahead if it wants to continue to live up to its aggressive brand image.

Their are still big opportunities available to Under Armour in the athletic footwear category, but they might need to be a little more conservative.  Perhaps they should follow the advice one expert said and grow things a little slower.  Try to develop their niche in the shoe market organically, rather than forcing their way with a big media blitz (i.e.- Super Bowl commercial).  There is a lot of established competition in shoes and Under Armour isn’t entering the space with anything revolutionary like they did in sports apparel with their moisture wicking shirts.  If I was Under Armour I would try to focus on a certain niche in shoes, like: football cleats, workout shoes or casual shoes.  Once successful in that space, then I would grow their product line into the more competitive categories like running shoes.  Sometimes bigger isn’t better, even for big brands like Under Armour.

under_armour_logo

Under Armour

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, Nike, Sports Brands, Under Armour | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Gatorade’s “Be Like Mike” a trend setter

Posted by ZA on October 27, 2009

Gatorade started airing their “Be Like Mike” commercials in 1991.  The commercials starred global basketball icon, Michael Jordan, in a series of off-court clips with footage of his NBA games intermingled.  The catchy “Be Like Mike” provided the background theme for these spots.  Suffice to say the commercials were an instant hit and people around the world began repeating the phrase every time they hit the basketball court.  I remember a few memorable attempts of my own to “Be Like Mike” while goofing around on the basketball court.

Gatorade – “Be Like Mike” commercial

What wasn’t known at that time is the influence the “Be Like Mike” commercials by Gatorade would have on sports marketing.  How many other brands would copy the formula in successful future commercials.  The formula: catchy tune plus fast action of filmed spots and clips of game action all mixed together.  Gatorade set a standard back in 1991 that has been copied by some of the biggest name in sports since then.

Nike

Adidas

Nike

Posted in Adidas, Gatorade, Nike, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Endorsement merry-go-round: Puma to Nike to Adidas

Posted by ZA on October 20, 2009

What happens when athletes switch their allegiance from one sports brand to another?  They usually pick up a bigger paycheck.  These days the goal of the big brands is to lock up their talent for the long haul.  The term “lifetime deals” have come into play with athletes like Allen Iverson (Reebok) and Tiger Woods (Nike).  Those type of deals originated with Michael Jordan who has been Nike’s shining star for a quarter of a decade.

But there are some athletes who switch brands. Here are 8 NBA stars who changed their sneaker deals:
Kobe Bryant: Adidas to Nike
Vince Carter: Puma to Nike
Baron Davis: Reebok to Li-Ning
Tim Duncan: Nike to Adidas
Kevin Garnett: Nike to And 1 to Adidas
Jason Kidd: Nike to Peak
Stephon Marbury: And 1 to Starbury
Chris Webber: Nike to Dada
Source: Complex.com

Li-Ning and Peak are both Chinese brands.  Starbury was a line of discount shoes started by Steve & Barry’s; the chain liquidated their stores in 2008 but the shoes/apparel continue to be promoted by Marbury. Dada may or may not still be in business – most of the stuff about them I could find is dated, so I can’t tell.  I guess that’s what happens when you select Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell to endorse your product.

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, Endorsement Deals, NBA, Nike, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shoe companies use blogs to launch new brands

Posted by ZA on October 19, 2009

The internet has changed the way that most companies release their new products.  Back in the days Nike might buy a glossy advertisement in Sports Illustrated to initially introduce a new shoe.  Then the week of the shoe’s launch they would place half-page ads in sports section of newspapers in the top 20 markets.  They would support this with some radio and possible a few TV spots during big games.  It worked then…

Now Nike is just as likely to promote a new shoe by sending out information to a bunch of influential bloggers.  They not only save money promoting their product in this manner, but are also getting a better ROI on the marketing dollars. This network of blogs has a loyal, engaged following that are the “early influencers” target that the company needs for their new product.  The guy who reads engadget everyday is more likely than me to buy the latest & greatest product from Samsung.  So when Samsung wants to get the word out, they go to Engadget.

This Brandweek article talks about that phenomena in the tennis shoe market.  How a handful of influential blogs (bloggers) are being used by Adidas, Nike, Puma, Reebok, etc. to help push their latest offerings.

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, Nike | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »