Earlier this week, the NBA and Nike announced a new 8-year, $1 billion contract to outfit all teams beginning in 2017. Nike will take over from Adidas, who did not plan on renewing their 11-year, $400 million contract.
This isn't the first time Nike has outfitted teams in the NBA. In 1997, Nike made uniforms for 10 teams – the Bulls, Celtics, Heat, Lakers, Mavs, Pistons, Raptors, Spurs, Blazers and Wizards. Champion and Starter outfitted the other 19 teams at the time, with Puma taking over Starter’s teams in 1999.
For the ’04-’05 season, Reebok became the official outfitter for all teams with a 10-year deal, but was bought out by Adidas in ’06. Adidas then signed an 11-year deal with the NBA, with hopes to put a dent in the US Nike market. That has not panned out for Adidas, as they slipped to third in US retail sales behind Nike and Under Armour.
The question now is, did Nike overpay for this contract? Probably, but it will be worth it. Under Armour is growing quickly and has become the primary threat to Nike in America. Having already secured Warriors star Steph Curry, they almost stole Kevin Durant away from Nike a few months back. If UA got the NBA contract, it could have turned the tide for stars to start seriously considering UA over Nike for sneaker deals.
Nike currently has contracts with most of the NBA’s biggest stars besides Curry – LeBron, Kobe, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie, CP3, Blake Griffin, and ‘Melo to name a few. Now with the opportunity to put the Swoosh logo on NBA game jerseys for the next 8 years, Nike is in the driver’s seat for the long term.