The agreement reached between Nike and the NFL for a five-year deal regarding the licensing of the league’s overall apparel line was agreed upon in late 2010. The deal gives the Nike brand the rights to all 32 NFL teams' colors and jersey schemes, which could enhance the recognition of both brands across the sports spectrum more so than they are currently.
The deal goes into effect the upcoming 2012 season, which will replace the current deal the NFL and Reebok had in place for apparel rights. With brands such as Reebok and Adidas holding apparel deals with the NFL, NBA, NHL, and even MLS, Nike executives knew the importance of inserting their brand into a more relevant and visible position within the team and league marketplace to compete with their rivals.
Nike’s insertion into the market as the NFL jersey and apparel provider, prompted executives of the brand to look to distinguish their new product from competitors, and in the process add new elements and features that could enhance overall sales dramatically. At the same time, Nike as a whole would be entering a new field, opening up doors into team and league apparel development, and in the process disintegrating the imbalance the Adidas brand, which also owns Reebok, has within the marketplace.
By entering a new field, especially one as visible as the NFL, Nike is aiming to add more than just their brand, logo, name, and likeliness to professional events. Going off of the “Pro-Combat” system Nike developed with college football programs such as the University of Oregon and Michigan State University, NFL fans and viewers will no doubt get to experience the brand’s cutting-edge style and color schemes that make up most of their clothing line.
Becoming the NFL apparel designer gives Nike a stronger platform for brand recognition than just advertisements, equipment and shoes. Nike executives hope to place enough focus on the brand itself that the relation and connection to the NFL, and subsequentially other leagues in the future, to create an inseparable bond in the minds of the fans and consumers when distinguishing between the NFL and Nike.
While many athletes across sports wear and use Nike products, primarily through their vast shoelines and trendsetting styles for comfort, style and function use, it will mark a new and momentous day in Nike history when teams take the field for the 2012 Season.
While the NFL playoffs continue to wage on for the 2011 season, Nike is planning an all out blitz, which will elevate an elite brand to an even greater echelon, and in a world of highlight videos and YouTube clips provide even more reason for fans and viewers to tune in.