Nike Has Fundamentally Changed Its Strategy In Football

Some weeks ago, we reported that Nike has lost more than 20 important footballers in the few months. This trend did not stop since then - what is (really) going on at Nike?

First, and most importantly, in contrast to Under Armour, who lost various athletes, Nike is anything but not short of money.

Nike is anything but short of money

Nike for the last time reported their results in late 2020, and they were positive. In the second quarter for Nike that ended on 30 November 2020, revenues for the NIKE Brand were $10.7 billion, an increase of 8 percent to prior year on a currency-neutral basis. This was driven by strong double-digit growth in NIKE Direct, as well as growth in Sportswear and the Jordan Brand, slightly offset by mid single-digit declines in our wholesale business.

So what is the reason for Nike to lose their players? We think it is totally intended by Nike and they just did let the deals run out of many of their best players (or just did not make a good / reasonable offer).

Nike Puts Focus On Women's Soccer Since 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

Instead of investing in hundreds of high-profile male footballers, Nike decided to put more focus on Women's football and sport in general.

In fact, Nike already announced in mid-2019 that they will put more focus on Women's football and in its development. This new strategy was first visible and presented during the 2019 Woman's FIFA World Cup when Nike invited various media to talk about their new Woman's strategy.

"As we speak, we're creating an even deeper emotional connection to consumers through the Women's World Cup in France," said Nike CEO Mark Parker during an earnings call on June 27 2019.

Female athletes worldwide are engaging with sport like never before

"We can feel the World Cup's energy and impact throughout our growing women's business. Female athletes worldwide are engaging with sport like never before," said Rosemary St. Clair, VP/GM, Nike Women, in a statement. "Whether it's unprecedented sell-through on national team kits, popularity for high-performance bras, or global impressions of our campaign, we're ecstatic about how this summer has contributed to the acceleration of our women's offense at Nike."

This new strategy becomes obvious when scrolling through Nike's images on social media. The brand's Nike Football Instagram and Twitter accounts feature around the same amount of male and women athletes.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Ada Hegerberg were the two faces for the launch of the 2021 Nike Mercurial

The next-generation Nike Mercurial 2021 football boot was debuted by and promoted with two Nike athletes - Cristiano Ronaldo and Ada Hegerberg ( 2018 Ballon d'Or Féminin winner).

However, the new strategy does not mean that Nike says goodbye to sponsoring high-profile male footballers completely. Instead, we think Nike will put even more focus on a few of the best (and most marketable) soccer players - it is just not their aim anymore to sponsor the majority of all footballers.

As of today, Nike is still sponsoring more than 50% of all Premier League footballers.

"I think this is a tipping point for our brand and for women's sports going forward," said John Hoke, Nike's VP, global design, during a presentation of the brand's upcoming women's innovations in 2019.

What do you think of Nike's strategy to put more focus on Women's football / soccer? Do you think Nike will lose more players in the next few months? Comment below.