Written By: Matt Vinson
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2012 may be the last year of Earth, but Nike is doing everything in its power to make sure it is THEIR year. To start with, Nike swooped (more like swooshed) into the NFL’s offices and pulled off a biggie. Nike ousted Reebok as the official provider of the NFL’s uniforms for the next five years, as the NFL carved up the apparel categories. Reebok, which had a decade long partnership as the NFL’s sole provider of apparel, has to be kicking itself. The Nike deal, valued at 1.1B (according to Sports Illustrated and Fortune magazine) continues Nike’s foray into football apparel. Already known for their outlandish or stylish musings (depending on your side of the coin) of college team uniforms such as Oregon, Nike now has the biggest stage of all to promote their brand. In a nation where jersey sponsorship has yet to catch on like the motherland, Nike essentially now has the only “jersey sponsorship” that matters. While the likes of Best Buy, Home Depot, and Chase cannot yet put their logo on an NFL jersey, Nike’s own swoosh trademark will be prominently displayed on EVERY jersey of the most watched US sport. And as Reebok tries to go out with a bang…
This attempt to be game changing is way too late. Take a peak below at some of the mock up Nike jerseys made to look like their college Pro Combat counterparts. (Quick note, these are not officially proposed by Nike)
Looking to maintain the position as the superior athletic brand, Nike is never willing to shake a few things up in order to expand their reach. The entire NFL jersey opportunities are exciting if you are like me, and welcome the change to many of the boring traditional looks many teams sport (I’m looking at you Indy and KC).
Along with this bombshell of a sponsorship deal, Nike recently released the plan for its ultimate personal activity counter known simply as the Nike+ FuelBand. As Nike explains, Life is Sport. Make it Count. The stylish armband acts as a calorie/step/time counter while offering much more. With the idea that every movement you make should be counted as activity, Nike seeks to help people track progress in making their life more active. By setting goals and dynamically tracking you statistics throughout the day, and by combining this great armband with the today’s app based society, Nike has hit the ground running (pun intended) with a great product. However, not only is the product itself attractive and useful the marketing behind the product has been brilliant. Partnering with social media guru Amy Jo Martin of Digital Royalty (@DigitalRoyalty) Nike rolled out the revealing and preordering of the FueldBand at an extravagant launch party which included the likes of Lance Armstrong, Derek Jeter, and Kevin Durant. (Martin’s description of the launch can be found here http://www.amyjomartin.com/2012/the-scoreboard-for-life/.
The social media aspect Nike and Digital Royalty brought to the launch shows the brilliant grasp of the use of all forms of media that Nike has. With expected ad revenue of $260 million for Twitter this year, it is no surprise Nike was one of the first lucky brands to be designated to have their own Twitter Brand Page (Nike Basketball actually had their brand page before Nike as a whole). It is no surprise then to find the current state of the brand page focused on this exciting new piece of equipment.
Nike just gets IT. With it only being January 25, of this early year of Armageddon, Nike has already built excitement for the coming year(s). They understand the importance of social media, and this understanding will lead to their outstanding year. The Year of Nike!
Originally from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Matt Vinson graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in Engineering Technology. He completed his graduate work at the DeVos Sports Business Management Program at UCF where he received a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and a Master’s in Sports Business Management. His education gives him a unique perspective of applying a highly analytical and technical mind to the field of sports business and marketing. Matt has worked for Lockheed Martin, UCF Athletics, and the Orlando Magic and is currently employed as a Digital Coordinator for High 5 Sports Marketing in San Francisco, CA. Matt is intrigued by the innovative ways sports organizations and leagues are utilizing social media to not only connect with fans, but also create new marketing opportunities. You can follow Matt @MatthewVinson and add him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/MatthewVinson.