Published on March 23, 2016 by Jared Brasher  

The basketball shoe market is one of the most flourishing markets in America right now, and the sky is the limit for this competitive business. Last year, basketball shoe sales resulted in a 10.6 million dollar increase from 2013’s total of $886.8 million, proving that this business is absolutely exploding. The problem many companies face is competing with the king of the shoe market, Nike.

I Want to be Like Mike

Since 1999, Nike has witnessed a 15.4% increase in total consumer unit purchases by brand name; showing that they have 85% more sales than all the other brands. When looking at their domination of the market, a common trend that is seen is their excellent use of advertising. Nike has been known for years to market their products with the help of professional athlete endorsements; Michael Jordan being their most infamous endorsement deal. Statistics show that people not only want to wear what looks good, but also what the best athletes in the game are wearing. There is something about rocking the exact pair of basketball shoes that your favorite player wears in his games. It gives people a sense of power and hope. It makes them think that if they wear the same shoes and look like their favorite player, then their skills will also model them.

Fear the Beard

The most recent company who has bought into this brilliant marketing strategy is Adidas, with hopes of closing the immense gap between Nike and the rest of the basketball world. In August 2015, Adidas signed a new 13 year, $200 million dollar sneaker deal with NBA superstar James Harden, a player previously sponsored by competitor Nike. Harden, the new player chosen by Adidas to represent their brand, was voted Players Choice MVP and averaged 27.4 points a game in the 2014-2015 NBA season, while also sporting possibly the greatest beard in the game. Chris Grancio, Adidas Global Basketball General Manager, raved of the Harden deal and stated that,

“His [Harden] addition to the Adidas basketball family is a game changer. This partnership gives him the opportunity to achieve his goals and express himself in  a totally new way as a creator. He's already one of the most recognizable sports figures because of his game, his look, his hunger to win and his style on the off the court. His ceiling is far from reached, which tells you the future for him and our brand looks incredible.”

By signing the new deal, Harden has landed one of the biggest endorsement deals in basketball history. This deal gives Harden his first ever shoe line, and makes him the face of Adidas basketball footwear, a goal that every player dreams of no matter the age. Adidas has made this bold move in a last attempt effort to lunge forward in basketball shoes sales, and hopes to chisel away at their almost insurmountable competitor Nike. With Nike making large deals of their own and stakes rising, it is encouraging to see Adidas competing every day to win over the fans, players, and coaches of the world; one pair of shoes at a time.

This blog post was written by Samford University student Jared Brasher.



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