Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 7, 2013 09:55 AM
Now that the NHL has reached a tentative deal that could see the players (finally!) hit the ice as soon as next week, let us now praise Nike's role in egging the league to put on its skates and cut a deal.
For years, Nike has ridden on the parade floats of champion athletes, signing big names to sneaker deals in order for fans to covet what the stars wear and to showcase their powerhouse athletes in a wide variety of advertisements (and add their names to buildings on the Nike campus in Oregon, too, of course).
However, the athletic wear giant struck a chord last summer when it touted a more populist message ("Find Your Greatness") during the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Nike hadn’t signed on to sponsor the Games but its name became forever aligned with England’s big event when it aired a commercial that featured everyday athletes competing in other Londons around the globe and urged those watching to find their own greatness.
As winter rolled around in the Western hemisphere, Nike duly hit another nerve for the average fan and athlete. With more than half of the NHL season cancelled due to a stand-off between wealthy owners and wealthy players, Nike launched a campaign on Dec. 19th keying in on the fact that hockey fans were fed up with the lockout and salary cap war — and the sport and its fans didn't need the NHL to survive.
After all, it's a game that will be played on rinks and lakes across the globe no matter if the pros ever lace their skates up again. So Nike's “Hockey is Ours” spot (with more than 700,000 views on YouTube) shows the faces and voices of frustrated fans, amateur hockey players, and even such pros as Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban.
We're not saying the spot (watch it below) helped end the NHL lockout, but it certainly reminded the owners and players who's really in charge of the sport's future — the fans.