Sports Business: The latest Brand Jordan signature sneaker, the Jordan 29, unveiled in New York, set to hit stores in September:
Via Jeffrey Martin
Beaverton, Ore. – Tinker Hatfield is discussing his latest creation, the Air Jordan XX9, and he wishes there were a fancier origin story, something more romantic about the lightest shoe in the line. He has designed 19 versions of Nike’s most iconic shoe, drawing inspiration from motorcycles, race cars and airplanes.
Now, he’s tasked with topping himself.
He, like Nike and subsidiary Jordan Brand, is competing against an incredibly popular and lucrative past. But the challenge is to create something as equally enduring for the future.
“I was literally thinking about designing more and more with computer technology in mind and I was thinking about pixels,” Hatfield told USA TODAY Sports. “High-definition? Sort of, yeah.”
The XX9, introduced Thursday in New York City, features 25 million pixels on its performance woven upper. It’s crafted by Italian artisans using a two-headed jacquard weaving machine normally for high-quality labels or silk neckties — definitely not shoes. It goes beyond appearance, however. From a structural standpoint, each pixel has a specific function and reason for being.
Wright Thompson with an inside private look at the life of Bobcats owner Michael Jordan at the age of 50:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Five weeks before his 50th birthday, Michael Jordan sits behind his desk, overlooking a parking garage in downtown Charlotte. The cell phone in front of him buzzes with potential trades and league proposals about placing ads on jerseys. A rival wants his best players and wants to give him nothing in return. Jordan bristles. He holds a Cuban cigar in his hand. Smoking is allowed.
“Well, s—, being as I own the building,” he says, laughing.
Back in the office after his vacation on a 154-foot rented yacht named Mister Terrible, he feels that relaxation slipping away. He feels pulled inward, toward his own most valuable and destructive traits. Slights roll through his mind, eating at him: worst record ever, can’t build a team, absentee landlord. Jordan reads the things written about him, the fuel arriving in a packet of clips his staff prepares. He knows what people say. He needs to know, a needle for a hungry vein. There’s a palpable simmering whenever you’re around Jordan, as if Air Jordan is still in there, churning, trying to escape. It must be strange to be locked in combat with the ghost of your former self.
Smoke curls off the cigar. He wears slacks and a plain white dress shirt, monogrammed on the sleeve in white, understated. An ID badge hangs from one of those zip line cords on his belt, with his name on the bottom: Michael Jordan, just in case anyone didn’t recognize the owner of a struggling franchise who in another life was the touchstone for a generation. There’s a shudder in every child of the ’80s and ’90s who does the math and realizes that Michael Jordan is turning 50. Read the rest of this entry
Cyclist Lance Armstrong Exposed; Loses All His Endorsements Over Doping Scandal, Including Nike Partnership
Portland Business Journal’s Erik Siemers on the Lance Armstrong fallout and it’s impact on Nike and the Livestrong Foundation:
A week ago, as the doping evidence against Lance Armstrong reached its summit, Nike Inc. remained steadfast in its support for the cycling legend.
On Wednesday, it changed its mind.
What happened in the last week remains an open question. But it would be easy to make a business case that Nike could have dumped Armstrong months, if not years, ago.
Cycling isn’t one of the brand’s major sports categories — being just a fraction of the size of, say, football — nor should it be. Cycling apparel and footwear, according to analysts, don’t generate enough revenue to justify the high production cost.
Armstrong’s value to the brand was in his prowess.
Nike cultivates athletes it believes are at the pinnacle of their sport — the best of the best. Its ties to cycling, therefore, were predicated not on the sport, but Armstrong’s status as a seven-time Tour de France winner and cycling’s most dominant athlete.
Once he was retired, though, Armstrong became a symbol of past greatness.
Nike takes over from Reebok as official NFL licensed uniform and team merchandise supplier; what it all means for teams and fans:
Via Paul Lukas of ESPN Playbook
A year ago, football fans were all aflutter — some with excitement, some with dread — about Nike getting set to take over the NFL’s uniform contract for the 2012 season. But a certain uniform columnist had the temerity to suggest that a Nike-outfitted NFL probably would look pretty much the same as a Reebok-outfitted NFL.
Twelve months later, a certain uniform columnist doesn’t want to say he told you so, but, um, he told you so. Aside from the Seahawks, who were put into the Nike centrifuge and emerged with a predictably eccentric costume, the rest of the league still looks like the NFL, at least for now.
Read the rest of this entry
Ad Age looks at the tense marketing battle between Nike and official Olympic sponsor Adidas at this summer’s London Olympics:
Think Nike’s an Olympics sponsor? You wouldn’t be the only one making that mistake. It’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign manages to capture the Olympic spirit of competition without mentioning the Olympics, or words verboten in the UK like “medal,” “gold” and “games.”
As the Olympic Games began last week, Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” landed at No. 1 on the Viral Chart, with 4.5 million views (about 1.7 million paid). Compare that to Adidias, an Olympics sponsor, whose “Take the Stage” campaign, which arrived at No. 3 on the chart, with 2.9 million views, according to Visible Measures.
Overall, “Take the Stage” has had 5.7 million views (about 1.6 million paid) since it launched in April, so Nike has nearly caught up in just a week. Having firmly linked itself with London, many viewers believe that the brand is affiliated with the games. Last week, Ad Age reported that an online survey by Toluma Global Omnibus Survey found that of 1,034 US consumers, 37% identified Nike as an Olympic sponsor, compared to 24% for real sponsor Adidas.
By Brendan Bowers of SPORTS MEDIA WORLD
The evolution of the modern athlete is never more evident than it is on Sunday’s in the NFL. Passes are launched with the velocity of rockets, collisions met with the impact of train-wrecks. The mantra of bigger, faster, stronger, has never been more understated.
This has led to an ongoing search for new methods of improvement, innovative avenues of growth, and new ways of training for those who work tirelessly to represent the NFL’s shield. It has resulted in an elite group of football playing athletes who can seemingly all run with the speed of a sprinter, and collectively push mountains of weight off their chests for hours on end.
The integration of sport and science over the last three decades specifically has sparked this evolution of how the modern athlete is defined. The playing field has been leveled at its highest point, and professional athletes are looking for every advantage to keep pace. The potential for what can be done has been re-calibrated with regularity. A need for a new edge created through innovative technologies has never been more in demand.
Nike SPARQ’s Sensory Performance (SSP) has been developed to meet that demand. Through use of a cutting edge interactive touch screen monitor testing system, designed to evaluate and analyze data of an athlete’s sensory skills and vision abilities, Nike SPARQ is helping lead the future of football training. Read the rest of this entry
From the Bloguin Network’s NBA Feature Site the Crossover Chronicles:
Last week Nike unveiled its newest creation, a 26,000 square foot retail brand experience in Portland, Oregon. The state of the art, three story, LEED certified concept store features the latest Nike footwear and sportswear collections, while always focusing on top innovation, performance, training, running and basketball categories.
Replacing the faced out Niketown which opened in 1990, the new Nike Portland features everything from Nike Sportswear designs to customized Nike I.D stations, and “The Bowerman Wall” named after Nike’s Co-Founder Bill Bowerman. This huge attention grabbing interactive touch screen display highlights the storied company’s history as the world’s greatest sporting brand through product videos, innovation and various Nike athlete photos. Read the rest of this entry