In a big marketing move for the NBA, Nike will officially provide uniforms for the entire league beginning in the 2017–18 season. The brand announced it would be replacing Adidas, and plans to provide jerseys, warm-up clothing, and shooting shirts to NBA players. The real “slam-dunk” is that Nike’s brand will actually be printed on the jersey, a benefit that was never extended to Adidas (or any sports apparel partner until now for that matter).
So, what’s the impact of sponsorship apparel? According to a study published by the psychology and marketing departments within University College Dublin, sports apparel sponsorship is both subtle and effective. In fact, the study argues that apparel sponsorship provides “the most valuable form of integration, as they (the brands) are literally stitched into the action and figuratively stitched into viewers’ cognitive schema.”
The best way to determine exactly how this partnership between Nike and the NBA will affect the brand’s bottom line is to stay up to date on the deal’s details and follow Nike stock trends. Nike’s stock is up approximately 35 percent in the last year, but only time will tell if the company will see more significant growth throughout the 2017–18 season after their newest deal with a major sports organization.
Where Does Adidas Go From Here?
So now that Nike is the future apparel provider of the NBA, is Adidas spending its evenings crying into a pillow?
Incredibly, the sports apparel giant was able to secure the NHL from long-time sponsor Reebok. It’s the company’s first foray into hockey, but considering Adidas history of sponsoring NCAA programs and the hockey teams of many prominent colleges, it is likely Adidas will do just fine as the official NHL sponsor.
Although it hasn’t been officially announced, Canada’s The Sports Network (TSN) has reported that uniforms are likely to undergo some pretty significant changes. A source told the station that Adidas’s trademark symbol might be added to “some or all team jerseys.” It’s safe to say there are as many changes coming to the NHL as there are coming to the NBA in the near future.
Sports Apparel is About the Players as Much as it’s About the Game
Big brands spend a ton on sports endorsements, and not just via team sponsorships. Adidas recently paid James Harden a record $200 million dollars to wear their shoes and clothing. Under Armour made the smart choice to hire rookie Stephen Curry as a representative of their brand. Since, Curry has won the MVP title and he’s more popular and relevant than ever.
So, what’s the benefit of these contracts? Athletes have a significant impact on sports apparel sales because they’re in the media often, have a far-reaching public image, and are widely emulated by the masses. People want to wear what their favorite players are wearing, even if it’s just a jersey to show their support. Athletic types will take this devotion even further, and wear the gear their favorite athletes wear.
According to endorsement expert and blogger Blake Lawrence, “sports endorsements are a gigantic industry amassing astronomical dollars in revenue and reaching millions.” Brand awareness is one of the most notable reasons this method works so well, but some people buy in to sports endorsements because an athlete is basically validating the product’s features. In the case of apparel, the entire NBA is saying Nike uniforms are better than your average uniform.
Endorsement marketing is a great way to build a sports business, or market your current sports business. You could sponsor a local sports team or, a group of little leaguers, or even an individual player to spread the word about your sports apparel or footwear. Either way, it’s up to you how you get involved, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to get started, but investing in a smart and calculated way is how you’ll get the best return on your sports endorsement.