Nike’s New Marketing Campaign

I guess I have to start today with Nike’s corporate decision to use Colin Kaepernick as the face of their 30th anniversary of Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”.  Many columnists this morning have lauded Nike for “taking a side” in the ongoing dispute between Kaepernick and the NFL.  Actually, I don’t think they took a side at all.  Remember just as Nike will pay Kaepernick to use his image and his person as the basis of their new ad campaign, Nike also is paying the NFL to be its official athletic shoe and it also is selling uniform jerseys to the NFL teams.  What Nike did was to make a business decision and now people who have already made up their mind on the “Kaepernick/NFL Kerfuffle” are acting out.

  1. People who think Kaepernick and his anthem protests were right and proper hail this as a victory – – and some predict that this will be a landslide that engulfs the NFL and its owners.
  2. People who think Kaepernick’s anthem protests were an affront to the United States see this as more pandering to the protesters and they have taken to the streets to burn Nike gear and shoes.

No one had their mind changed by Nike’s decision – – and if anyone thinks that Nike did not take all of this into account before launching this campaign, he/she is delusional.  And for the record, the entire athletic shoe and apparel industry – including Nike and all its competitors – got a business boost in the past 48 hours.  When large numbers of people burn up shoes and jerseys, that creates demand in the industry.  Nike competitors will get the business of folks who burned the shoes; Nike will get the business of people who think the company did a courageous and righteous thing.  It is quite transactional…

Allow me to make two quick baseball observations here.  We are at the point in the MLB season where rosters are expanded, and managers now have 40 bodies in the dugout to use in game situations.  Do not be surprised if games in September – particularly ones involving teams that are not in the running for anything – start to take longer to complete.  Up until September 1, MLB teams carry 12 or 13 pitchers on the active roster.  In September, managers may have 15 or 20 arms available to them.  It takes a smidgen of planning ahead when it comes to managing a bullpen in the early part of the season; in September, managers can change pitchers on a whim.

Therefore, things to look for in September include:

  • Time of game entries in box scores longer than 3:30
  • Games where the total number of pitchers used by both teams is 12 or more.

The Miami Marlins made an announcement of a business decision of their own last week.  For those who thought that Nike made a bad decision, please ruminate on this one for a moment.

  • Next year, the Marlins will set aside sections in the stands for fans who want to bring noisemakers to the game.

As of this morning, the Marlins average attendance for 2018 home games is 10,014.  Last year, the Marlins drew just over 20,000 per home game; so, attendance this year is about half of what it was last year.  Obviously, the decision by the Marlins to slash payroll and trade off all but one of their top players is the principal cause of that attendance debacle.  Nonetheless, I wonder about the thought processes of the Marlins’ braintrust if they think adding sections full of noisemakers – – think vuvuzelas – – will attract thousands of fans per game to the stadium.

Niners’ CB, Richard Sherman, is in the news for something other than his play on the field.  Sherman will launch a Daily Fantasy Sports website that offers a different way to play daily fantasy sports.  Since I never played them “the old way”, I am no position to tell you how new and different Sherman’s approach to that form of gambling might be.  Buried in the announcement of the launch of Daily Number is the fact that it plans to launch in 23 states meaning that this endeavor is going to seek a national presence in the daily fantasy sports landscape.  Here is a link to a report at that explains how the app will work and what the marketing plan for it is.

Given my apathy about daily fantasy sports in general, consider this a public service announcement …

After those of you who care about daily fantasy sports have digested the nuances of this new approach to that form of gambling entertainment, ponder for a moment what might have been the reaction of Roger Goodell to this announcement just a year ago.  After he recovered from the apoplexy he would have suffered …

Having mentioned fantasy sports, here is a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald on the subject:

“It’s fantasy draft weekend: Has your league had its fantasy draft yet? Better get to it, with NFL season opening this Thursday night. Only sure bet with fantasy drafts? You’ll think your team is a lot better than it really is. Me, too.”

Finally, here is a tidbit of football history from Peter King’s Football Morning In America column at earlier this week:

“The Bears and the Packers, fittingly, will open the 100th season of professional football in Green Bay Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

“They have met 196 times previously—194 in the regular season, twice in the playoffs. In those 196 games, this is the composite score:

“Green Bay 3,377, Chicago 3,377.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………