By Barry Janoff
June 11, 2015: Nike is living large in the NBA, and not just thanks to mega endorsers who include LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving and an entire Jordan Brand division.
Nike and the NBA on Wednesday (June 10) signed an eight-year global merchandising and marketing alliance that makes Nike the official on-court apparel provider, beginning with the 2017-18 season.
Nike replaces adidas, which in March said it would not renew its NBA deal when the current contract expires at the end of the 2016-17 season.
The company's current pact as official jersey supplier to the league dates back to 2006, when adidas and the NBA signed an 11-year contract valued at $400 million, according to industry analysts.
For the five years prior to that, the NBA's jersey supplier had been Reebok, which was acquired by adidas in 2005.
The decision comes as adidas, which already had been second to Nike in U.S. retail sales of footwear and sports apparel, fell to third in 2014 behind hard-charging Under Armour.
Financial details of the Nike pact — which includes the NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League — were not released. Industry analysts put the figure at $1 billion.
For its investment, Nike will become the first NBA apparel partner to have its logo appear on NBA uniforms.
The league is also considering putting other corporate logos on its NBA jerseys, as it already does in the WNBA, but has not firmed a timeline for that to become a reality.
Under Armour was also seen as a player in the move to replace adidas. It's lead NBA spokesperson is NBA MVP Stephen Curry, currently leading the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by Nike spokesman James.
"This partnership with Nike represents a new paradigm in the structure of our global merchandising business," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "As our exclusive on-court apparel provider, Nike will be instrumental in our collective efforts to grow the game globally while applying the latest in technology to the design of our uniforms and on-court products."
This is the second time Nike replaced adidas in a major sports move. In 2012, Nike took over the NFL deal to be the league's official uniform and apparel partnerfrom Reebok, a division of adidas. It was extended in March to run through 2019.
Adidas said it would not leave the basketball business but instead would focus on signing athlete endorsers, new products and high school and college alliances.
Adidas currently has deals with such NBA players as Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, Dwight Howard, Jeff Teague and Tim Duncan.
Nike and its Jordan Brand division are by far the biggest supplier of shoes to NBA feet, with more than 300 players combined. Adidas has about 70 and Under Armour about 15, according to HoopsHype.com.
Nike endorsers include LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Chris Bosh.
Jordan Brand endorsers include Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, Joe Johnson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, as well as the iconic and still high-profile Michael Jordan himself.
Nike has been a global marketing partner of the NBA since 1992, a marketing partner of the WNBA since the league's inception in 1997 and has served as the footwear and exclusive apparel provider of USA Basketball since 2006.
Nike also becomes a first-time marketing partner for the NBA Development League.
"As our exclusive on-court apparel provider, Nike will be instrumental in our collective efforts to grow the game globally."
Under the new deal, Nike will have global rights to design and manufacture authentic and Swingman jerseys as well as on-court warm-ups and shooting shirts.
Nike said marketing support would activate around several NBA jewel events, including the NBA All-Star, NBA Global Games, NBA Draft presented by State Farm, Samsung NBA Summer League and NBA 3X.
Nike has been and will remain the official partner and apparel provider of Basketball without Borders.
Nike will have an expanded presence at WNBA All-Star and other events throughout the season.
With the NBA D-League, Nike said it would plan season-long marketing activities to include the NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire and the NBA D-League Showcase presented by Samsung.
According to Mike Parker, president and CEO for Nike Inc., "We're excited to bring the full power of our global reach, innovation and creativity to partner with the NBA and grow the game in a way only Nike can. In Nike, Jordan and Converse we have three of the most connected brands in the world, and look forward to making the global growth of the game a successful strategy for both the NBA and Nike."
With adidas Out, Will Nike, Under Armour Move In To NBA?
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