While it's unclear whether Kobe Bryant will play for the Italian basketball league, that hasn't stopped Nike — #25 on Interbrand's just-released 2011 Best Global Brands ranking — from releasing the commercial above, featuring the NBA star in Milan.
Today is considered a "huge day" for the lockout negotiations, with NBA team execs and players holed up in a swank hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to try to hash out a new collective bargaining agreement and end the current lockout.
Talks have been grinding on, but that’s not stopping the league from postponing training camps and preseason games.
If the season gets scuttled or affected in any way, that’ll be a big financial hole for arenas to fill as well as all the bars and restaurants and shops and parking lots and mass transit and big-foam-finger manufacturer and everything else that derives come income from the Great American Fandomsphere.
But what about footwear? Specifically, Nike shoes. Will the fact that fans aren’t seeing Nike shoes squeak on professional courts across North America hurt sales for the athletic-wear behemoth’s basketball shoes?
So far, so good. The Associated Press reports that Nike Brand President Charlie Denson told investors in its latest quarterly conference call that sales in North America remained strong.
“The North American consumer is definitely not backing off at all,” Denson said, according to the AP. “They are ramping up.” He also noted that China “is continuing to do very well.”
And the company is “the most excited” about another location on the globe. Though it is still a small part of the puzzle now, Denson said that sales are showing that there “is the increasing level of interest around basketball in Europe,” the AP reports — which makes that Bryant Italia spot all the wiser.
It helps that so many NBA stars were able to take part in the European championships this summer and/or because a number of players have signed on to compete for European teams while waiting for the NBA to get its act together.
However you slice it, it appears that Nike will be just fine, thank you very much.