Nike dominates athletic apparel companies


Luke Deel, Sports Editor

Gym and health teacher Mrs. Amy Oppat is getting ready for a run. While going through her normal routine she puts on the most important product: a pair of Nike shoes. The Nike swoosh glistens in the sun as she runs down the sidewalk of the neighborhood. The swoosh may seem like just a symbol, but it’s more than that; it’s the face of a company that is worth 15.9 billion dollars.

There are many things that contribute to the success of Nike, but according to many, the endorsements and recognition Nike has acquired are the biggest contributors to its success.

“I think the big thing is name brand recognition and advertising,” economics teacher Mr. Erik Vernon said. “They have been around for a long time and they have an enormous advertising budget that consistently puts them out in the public.”

Mrs. Oppat agrees.

“I think Nike is the most popular due to their marketing techniques and the quality of their items,” Mrs. Oppat said. “They have used a great number of famous athletes to endorse their product. A few that come to mind are Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Maria Sharapova and Tiger Woods.”

Sophomore Alfan Ekumu believes Nike not only gains athletic credibility from its endorsements, but also gains fashion credibility as well.

“Endorsements such as Kanye West made their apparel more fashion credible because Kanye is a big fashion icon in this generation,” Ekumu said.

Senior Matt Benedittini believes Nike created their fashion status on their own.

“It has high quality products that look great and can be used across all different sports,” Benedettini said. “When working out and practicing, they have comfortable clothing made of high end material that wicks sweat and keeps you cool during the summer, but can also can keep you warm in the winter for running outside.”

According to Mrs. Oppat, Nike also connects its to each other.

“They also provide a number of phrases and slogans for their t-shirts that are very appealing to athletes,” Mrs. Oppat said. “A couple of examples are: ‘Just Do It,’ ‘Run,’ ‘That Just Happened,’ ‘Strive for Greatness.’ These types of strategies allow people to feel connected and as if they are working for a common goal.”

The tactics Nike uses obviously are working for them at this point, as of now Nike holds 60 percent of the market share. But how long has Nike been this big?

“They were pretty big when I was a kid,” Mr. Vernon said.  “Back then though, it was mostly Nike vs. Reebok. They really took off when Michael Jordan was the best in the game and his Air Jordans started to take off. Nike really had a gigantic advertising blitz in the 80’s and 90’s that gave them a large portion of the market share. He was an extremely marketable player who kind of re-wrote the apparel advertising game.”

Mrs. Oppat has a different outlook.

“Nike has expanded a great deal since I was young. Many years ago, they had generic athletic apparel,” Mrs. Oppat said. “Now they have designed things that are more specific to various sports such as items designed just for soccer, just for running, just for basketball or hiking or golf.”

The question is will Nike continue to grow? The opinions are divided among whether or not Nike will continue to grow or whether it has already reached its highest point.

“I think Nike has plateaued and is going down and other companies such as Adidas and Under Armour are on the rise and may even take Nike’s spot in the future at the top,” Ekumu said.

Mr. Vernon believes Nike has not reached their plateau yet.

“I believe they will [continue to grow],” Mr. Vernon said. “But they have a lot of competition with Under Armour, so their growth may not be as dramatic as past years.”

Mrs. Oppat agrees.

“I think Nike will continue to grow as the demands for more specific items increases,” Mrs. Oppat said. “Companies that are successful are constantly looking for ways to satisfy their customers and provide them with multiple options.”

Mrs. Oppat also believes people’s lifestyles changes will increase Nike’s popularity.

“As our knowledge about the importance of exercise increases, more and more people are incorporating this into their daily lives regardless of age,” Oppat said. “I have seen infants with Nike apparel and I have seen senior citizens wearing Nike apparel. Additionally, I have traveled to several other countries and there is always a Nike store in the local shopping district.”