sporting brands

New Kit on the Block: Nike Cuts Manchester United Ties [Updated]

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 8, 2014 02:08 PM

Soccer is the one category where Adidas has a significant market-share lead over archrival Nike and the latter would love to change that. For evidence, take a gander at how much Nike has invested in World Cup-related marketing.

As much as Nike would like to conquer the one last silo Adidas has, it apparently isn’t ready to open its wallets completely in order to continue being associated with the biggest-name football club in the world: Manchester United.

Nike’s 13-year deal to supply uniforms for the team ends next year and the pair have been in talks about an extension. Nike currently pays out around $40 million annually along with a percentage of merchandise sales to ManU, Bloomberg reports. Now the team is said to want $102.8 million each year—an amount that Adidas may be willing to pay—as Nike confirmed today that it will no longer sponsor the storied team.Continue reading...

sporting brands

With Hornets' New Jerseys Comes New Advertising Opportunity for NBA

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 20, 2014 02:41 PM

When the Charlotte Hornets unveiled their new uniform earlier this week, a small detail was missing from the front of the jersey—the red, white and blue NBA logo. 

The league's marker has long adorned players' chests, but now, as seen on the Hornets uniforms, the logo has been relocated to the back of jerseys, a migration that will be applied across the board next season, ESPN reports. The seemingly minor move could end up meaning hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the NBA if the "stylistic" reasoning behind the move allows for the introduction of advertising on jerseys.

That would mark the long-awaited adaptation of a revenue model that pro soccer has long embraced—and benefitted from. Earlier this year, NBA commissioner Adam Silver called the move “inevitable” and NBA owners “were shown mockups of ad-laden uniforms” two years ago, Time reports.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Change the Mascot Hails Cancellation of Washington Redskins Trademarks

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 18, 2014 11:56 AM

The fight against the Washington Redskins mascot just got a whole lot more interesting.

Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the organization's trademarks related to its team mascot after the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruled that the marks were "disparaging" to Native Americans. 

While the trademarks are no longer viable, the team can continue to use them—though with no protection from unauthorized merchants that sell Redskins gear, a stipulation that could drive the team's valuation down over time.

The action was the result of a lawsuit against the team filed by “five Native Americans” eight years ago, the USPTO said. “This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath, told the Washington Post.Continue reading...

sporting brands

NFL Punts Tradition for Super Bowl's Upcoming 50th Anniversary

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 5, 2014 10:36 AM

There's no party like a Super Bowl party, and the NFL is taking care to make sure its big 5-0 is extra special. The 50th Super Bowl, which will take place in 2016 in San Francisco, will have a whole new look after the NFL announced this week that it will be dropping the use of Roman numerals in the game's logo, a tradition that has been practiced since Super Bowl V in 1971. 

Apparently, the NFL did not like the way "L," which represents 50 in the ancient numeric system, looked in the event's logo. (One wonders if there was temptation to do this for 1996's Super Bowl XXX.)

But the NFL assured fans that this would be a one-time only change. “When we developed the Super Bowl XL logo, that was the first time we looked at the letter ‘L,’” said Jamie Weston, NFL’s vice president of brand and creative, of the 40th Super Bowl back in 2005, according to ESPN. “Up until that point, we had only worked with Xs, Vs, and Is. And at that moment, that’s when we started to wonder what will happen when we get to 50?”Continue reading...

sporting brands

Manchester United Threatens Nike Deal with High-Priced Demands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 23, 2014 03:47 PM

The season may be over on the field for Manchester United, but it apparently has only just begun for the team's board members.

Coming off its worst season in decades after losing famed coach Sir Alex Ferguson last year, the team recently booted Ferguson's replacement in hopes that Louis Van Gaal can put the team back on track next season. More concerning though than its losing record is its losses on the bottom line. And now one of the team's biggest money-makers—kit supply—is up for grabs. 

The world's most popular soccer team has been wearing Nike gear for more than 10 years thanks to the $510 million that the Portland, Ore.-based company paid out for a 13-year contract to outfit the team. While Nike would like to continue to lucrative partnership, ManU is reportedly looking for even more money once the deal wraps up after next season.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Golf—and Golf Brands—Try to Find Their Way Back Onto the Fairway

Posted by Dale Buss on May 23, 2014 02:12 PM

Because they’re not hearing enough “thhhwwwwack!” sounds at America’s golf courses, brands including Dick’s Sporting Goods, TaylorMade, Callaway and country clubs across the country aren’t hearing enough “cha-ching” noises at their cash registers.

As the nation’s duffers head into the traditional Memorial Day high time for golf optimism and play—it was National Golf Day on Wednesday—the bad news is that players are leaving the sport in droves each year. About 400,000 did so last year, according to the National Golf Foundation, accelerating a slide that has lasted 20 years by some measures.

“Golf is in a bit of a drought,” Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor Associates, a brand-consulting firm, told Bloomberg. “It’s a pretty high-price sport, and leisure time is getting crunched.”

What’s more, Millennials haven’t taken to golf like previous generations of Americans; 200,000 players under 35 alone abandoned the game last year, according to the foundation.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Manchester United Hopes Van Gaal Will Be Good Brand Steward—and Coach

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 20, 2014 03:11 PM

Manchester United does not like to lose; nor does its millions of fans, management and players. 

And for most of the sporting brand's 136 years, it hasn't. ManU has been a reliable powerhouse and a dependable victor in one of soccer's toughest leagues. It has won plenty of Cup tournaments and the most Premier League Championships. 26 of those winning seasons came under Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired after the 2012-13 season when ManU won its 20th league championship. Since Ferguson's retirement, though, the team has struggled under his replacement, David Moyes, and finished seventh in the league, its worst finish in Premier League history.

Unwilling to adjust to the less than favorable placement, ManU booted Moyes and has since hired Holland's Louis van Gaal to take over the squad. van Gaal will pick up coaching duties after he leads the Netherlands through this summer's World Cup.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Nike, adidas Go Head-to-Head in World Cup Marketing Showdown

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 19, 2014 12:11 PM

The World Cup, a sporting event far larger than the Super Bowl in both size and marketing dollars, is only a few short weeks away and brands are doing all they can to get in front of the millions of soccer fans around the globe. Perhaps the biggest battle will be between Nike and adidas, which is an official sponsor of the event and the maker of the tournament's official game ball, Brazuca.

But while adidas' name and logo will be slapped on billboards and stadiums across the country, the brand is surely bracing for whatever ambush marketing move Nike has up its sleeve, much like the brand has done at past Olympic and World Cup events.  

Nike has been quickly catching up to adidas in the soccer gear market, despite the fact that it only entered in 1994 after the World Cup came to the US. Nike has far outgrown the German company as a whole, but adidas is still the leader in soccer, bringing in a reported $2.4 billion in 2013 compared to Nike's $1.9 billion, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.Continue reading...

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