For a decade now, Adidas has been the maker of the NBA’s official uniforms and apparel — those Chicago Bulls practice long-sleeve T-shirts, the Stephen Curry Warriors T-shirts, the LeBron James jerseys all were Adidas products. But the company decided to bow out of when other competitors came into the bidding process.
Nike won that bidding war.
Nike and the NBA announced a deal Wednesday where the iconic brand tied to NBA stars from Michael Jordan through LeBron will be the NBA’s official uniform and apparel supplier for at least eight years.
“This partnership with Nike represents a new paradigm in the structure of our global merchandising business,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a released statement. “As our exclusive on court apparel provider, Nike will be instrumental in our collective efforts to grow the game globally while applying the latest in technology to the design of our uniforms and on court products.”
Nike has made the Team USA jerseys for the Olympics for years; this will build off of that experience. Nike also will manufacture the jerseys for the WNBA and D-League.
“We’re excited to bring the full power of our global reach, innovation and creativity to partner with the NBA and grow the game in a way only Nike can,” Nike President & CEO Mark Parker said in his statement. “In Nike, Jordan and Converse we have three of the most connected brands in the world, and look forward to making the global growth of the game a successful strategy for both the NBA and Nike.”
This was the expected outcome after Adidas decided to get out of the business. While it was possible Under Armour could have tried to pay big for a foothold, the NBA and Nike have deep ties and business relationships in place.
But mostly this is about Nike coughing up the cash. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Nike will pay the NBA $125 million annually to supply the uniforms, which is more than double what Adidas was paying (and why they dropped out).
This should be good for the look of the league — Nike does things well and does them with a flair. They get marketing, but they also get design. This is a marriage that should lead to some fun looks for the NBA at future All-Star Games and beyond, starting in the 2017-18 season.
Back in 2012, Nike signed to be the official uniform supplier of the NFL.