Middlesex Saxons shot by Luke Farley
Nike is a brand that I have grown up with. Playing numerous sports as a child through to present day the attraction I have to the brand is appropriately strong. Always working to stay innovative I believe that Nike continue to stay on the forefront of sportswear forever striving to expand in the capacities given to them.
More recently they have had greater press than the usual for new expansions including a sporting hijab and a plus size range for women.Working with numerous sports teams and fitness groups, many of which are suited in their Nike sports attire amongst other sports brands, allows me to see the connection that sports brands now have with young talent and how this continues to shape these brands every day.
The gradual progress of a young athlete(s) making a name for themselves with the help of a big sports brand has become more common but this has not always been the case.
1984 marked the year when Nike signed Michael Jordan to a $2.5 million contract over a five year period. At the time Nike took a gamble because they were risking investment into a young athlete who could let them down in his performance amongst more uncertainties. Whatever uncertainties existed were not enough to discourage Nike’s management who had great confidence in the young Jordan’s athletic capabilities. The economic performance of the brand was under pressure and furthermore Nike had taken a 65% decline in earnings and lay off 400 employees. Rather then letting such factors act as a deterrent, not only did Nike create a line of shoes termed Air Jordan but also to further promote the line Jordan was paid a royalty on shoes and clothing.
The initial $100 million figure of Jordan’s that were sold in their first year of release is just a small indication of the success that the new product line had. It is clear that investing in this young athlete at the time and spending money on the promotion of the new line as well as the advertising that surrounded it were key fillers that have given the Jordan brand the name it has today.
It’s no surprise that today we see multiple basketball teams in Nike or more specifically Jordan’s. Yes they have become a fashion statement now, being sold in multiple styles, but something that has and I believe will always remain the same is the appeal that Nike has to culture and how this continues to mould them and their competitors.
Words by Rachel Abebrese
[Article images courtesy of Google]