Adidas Celebrates Jesse Owens With Black History Month Collection

Track and field legend Jesse Owens (Image: Wikipedia.org)

Adidas has announced a new Black History Month footwear collection inspired by Jesse Owens. Owens, one of the most well known African American track and field athletes in history, is considered a sports and cultural icon.

[Related: 3D Print Your Next Pair of Adidas]

According to Adidas, “The Owens family is pleased to partner with Adidas for Black History Month with a commemorative basketball shoe. On the feet of athletes who compete in the spirit of Jesse’s historic accomplishments, these shoes encompass the significance of one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.”

Born in Alabama and raised in Ohio, Owens rose to fame at the 1935 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he broke three world records and tied a fourth. At the time, it was the greatest one-man, one-day performance the sport had ever witnessed.

The following year, at the 1936 Olympic summer games in Berlin, Owens became a symbol for social justice and equality. He became the first American track and field athlete to ever win four gold medals in a single Olympics. He accomplished this wearing hand-crafted Adidas footwear and his performance marked one of the most significant sports and cultural moments in sports history.

During the Martin Luther King Jr. Day games on Monday, Jan. 18, NBA players James Harden, Derrick Rose, and Damian Lillard will debut the exclusive new collection. Other players will continue to showcase the hot new kicks throughout the month of February.

The three designs all feature similar cream and brown tones, gold accents, and signature details, including Owens’ 733 bib number. You can view the entire collection here.

Follow Harden, Rose and Lillard on social media and look out for their first-person experience with the commemorative line.

Will you be wearing one of the Owens-inspired designs? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Kanye West’s New ‘Yeezy Boost 350′ Sneaker Sells Out Immediately

On Saturday, Dec. 26, Kanye West’s new sneaker line Yeezy Boost 350 launched worldwide, selling out in the U.S. immediately, according to reports. Just an hour after the sneakers went on sale to the general public at approximately 11:25 a.m. EST, the official Adidas Twitter account tweeted: “#YEEZYBOOST 350 is now sold out online in the U.S.”  The coveted kicks are priced at $200 and were seized in Europe and Canada after selling out in the U.S.

[Related: Kanye West’s $350 Sneakers Restock After Selling Out]

Kanye West fans, sneakerheads, and fashionistas alike all waited in long lines outside of Adidas stores from Paris to New York City on Saturday. The majority of the limited-edition shoes were reserved for people who pre-ordered them online.

Back in 2009, West was in talks with Nike to release a shoe line, the Air Yeezys, with a second version released in 2012. In Jan. 2009, West introduced his first shoe line designed for Louis Vuitton during Paris Fashion Week, which came out later that year during the summer.

In 2013, West signed a sneaker deal with Adidas and his first line of Yeezy Boost footwear sold out in a record 10 minutes. Since the debut release, the demand for his sneakers has remained off the charts. West, who has dominated the fashion industry since breaking into it, is just one of many Hip-Hop artists who have crossed over into fashion, including Nicki Minaj for Kmart; Pusha T with Play Cloths; Lil Wayne with Trukfit; and Tyga with Last Kings.

What are your thoughts? Do you want a pair of Yeezy Boosts? Share with us below in the comment section.

 

 

 

3D Print Your Next Pair of Adidas

Adidas wants you to walk into one of its stores, run for a moment or two on a treadmill, and then walk out with a running shoe perfectly customized for your feet. This will all be made possible with a new venture from the sneaker manufacturer that involves 3D printing.

[Related: Dwyane Wade Talks Brand Innovation and Product Development]

Futurecraft 3D is a running shoe midsole, created with a 3D printer, with customized cushioning based on an individual’s foot. The idea is to create a carbon copy of the wearer’s footprint to make an enhanced performance shoe. The 3D technology replicates the contours and pressure points of a person’s feet.

“Futurecraft 3D is a prototype and a statement of intent. We have used a one-of-its-kind combination of process and material in an entirely new way. Our 3D-printed midsole not only allows us to make a great running shoe, but also to use performance data to drive truly bespoke experiences, meeting the needs of any athlete,” said Eric Liedtke, executive board member of Adidas AG, responsible for global brands.

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is the printing of 3D objects from a digital file. 3D printing is increasingly used in manufacturing, the medical industry, and by everyday people, to replace broken parts of common household items or for arts and crafts.

Adidas has partnered with Materialise, a company that develops 3D printing software and solutions. Materialise offers 3D printing solutions in matters far weightier than sneakers, however. For example, the company’s medical 3D imaging technology helped with the success of reconstructive surgery for a young woman who suffered a gunshot to her face.

In its collaboration with such a highly-skilled 3D printing partner, Adidas’ goal is to offer a series of Furturecraft products.

“Futurecraft is our sandbox. It is how we challenge ourselves every day to explore the boundaries of our craft, driving material and process innovation,[and] bringing the familiar into the future. Marrying the qualities of handcrafting and prototyping with the limitless potential of new manufacturing technologies. Futurecraft is stripped back – fast, raw, and real – it is our approach to design,” said Paul Gaudio, creative director, Adidas.

Rockets Star James Harden a $200 Million Adidas Man?

(Image: File)

According to reports, Adidas has offered James Harden of the Houston Rockets a 13-year, $200 million endorsement deal to leave Nike.

ESPN’s Darrell Rovell reports that the offer is “huge,” as it represents half of what the brand paid for 11 seasons as the league’s official supplier of uniforms, and that earlier this year, Adidas announced that it would not fight to renew its deal with the NBA, as Nike takes over after the 2016-17 season. Nike has until next week to match or beat the offer.

“We’ve invited James Harden to join Adidas,” Adidas spokesman Michael Ehrlich said in a statement. “We’re a brand of creators and he truly embodies what that means with his approach to the game, his look and his style on and off the court. He’s coming off a historic season where he won the scoring title and was voted MVP by his peers. His connection with fans is unparalleled and unprecedented and he can take the game, our brand and the industry to new heights.”

Harden hasn’t yet joined the likes of Michael Jordan or Kevin Durant with a sneaker of his own, but if he inks this deal, he’ll be in good company. Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, a top earner on and off the court, landed a 13-year, $185 million deal with Adidas in 2010, with his shoe Rose ranking fourth ($40 million) in sales in 2014, behind Lebron James ($300 million.)

Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight Steps Down As Chairman

Phil Knight, co-founder of the tremendously successful and iconic brand Nike, has released a statement saying that he plans to step down as chairman of the brand in 2016. In a statement released on Tuesday, the 77-year-old billionaire says:

“For me, Nike has always been more than just a company – it has been my life’s passion. Over the years, I’ve spent a great deal of time considering how I might someday evolve my ownership and leadership of Nike in a way that benefits all of our stakeholders. Today, we have taken a number of important steps that will continue to promote Nike’s long-term growth. I have long felt a great responsibility to provide clarity and certainty for the long-term governance and leadership of Nike and for my ultimate transition as chairman. I have worked closely with the Nike board in developing this plan and in identifying the most qualified person to serve as my successor in this role. I believe Mark [Parker] is the best choice to succeed me. He has been an outstanding CEO for the past nine years, and has demonstrated time and again his love for this Company and his clear vision for capturing the tremendous potential Nike has to innovate, inspire, and drive growth. For myself, I intend to continue to work with Nike and look forward to contributing to its future well after my chairmanship ends.”

Under Parker’s reign as president and CEO, which began in 2006 following the abrupt departure of William Perez after only 13 months, sales have doubled and Nike’s stock has steadily climbed, giving the sportswear maker a market value of over $90 billion, according to a report.

“Phil founded Nike to serve athletes,” Parker said. “That vision and inspiration continues to drive our success today around the world. I have been privileged to work with Phil for over 35 years, and Nike’s exceptional management team and I are committed to building on Phil’s vision to drive the next era of growth for Nike.”

From humble and honest beginnings, Nike has become the leading sportswear maker in the world, with almost twice as much revenue as main rival Adidas AG. On Thursday, Nike reported that its annual profit grew 22% to $3.27 billion and its revenue rose 10% to $30.6 billion. Here’s a brief history of the brand:

  • In 1964, Phil Knight, a former middle-distance runner at the University of Oregon, began the company – originally named “Blue Ribbon Sports” – with Oregon track coach Bob Bowerman, with each putting up $500.

  • By 1969, Knight was making enough selling shoes to quit his full-time job as an accountant and devote himself to the footwear company.

  • In 1971, he paid $35 to Carolyn Davidson for the original swoosh logo design now plastered across the uniforms and shoes of athletes from the World Cup to little leagues.

  • In 1978, Blue Ribbon Sports formally came to be known as Nike – after a friend suggested the name.

  • Initially focused on running shoes, in 1985 the brand signed Michael Jordan, and created the iconic “Air Jordan” line of basketball shoes.

  • Today, the swoosh is one of the most recognizable logos around the globe, as well as being one of the most profitable; aside from landing Knight on Forbes magazine’s list of ’50 richest people in the world,’ with a net worth estimated at $24 billion, Forbes has also called Nike “[the] most valuable sports brand in the world.”

 

Nike Inks Massive Apparel Deal With The NBA

Late yesterday, news broke that the sportswear and retail giant Nike finalized a deal that would make it the exclusive apparel brand for the NBA, WNBA, NBA D-League.

[Related: Marshawn Lynch Goes ‘Beast Mode’ In New Call Of Duty]

BREAKING: Nike and NBA to announce new 8-year deal to become official uniform of NBA. Will start in 2017-18. Adidas is out.

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 10, 2015

Today, the details of the deal have begun to surface and they are staggering, but certainly representative of the two titans sitting at the table. The deal is an eight-year partnership, beginning in the 2017-18 season. Per an ESPN report, while the financial terms were not immediately disclosed, the deal is believed to be worth roughly $1 billion, according to sources, which they note is approximately a 245 percent annual increase from the previous deal.

Nike has generally maintained a strong presence around the league over the years, and within basketball communities at various levels; the company has been an official  marketing partner of the NBA since 1992, and the footwear and apparel provider for USA Basketball, the country’s Olympic representation for the sport, since 2006. Additionally, the sportswear giant has been ever-present in locker rooms and on courts, as Nike and its affiliated brands – which include Jordan and Converse – control more than 90 percent of the U.S. basketball shoe retail market. The company has endorsement deals with many of the league’s biggest stars, including LeBron James and Kyrie Irving – whose Cleveland Cavaliers are currently locked in a battle for the NBA championship, as well as Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Russell Westbrook.

“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,” said Nike president and CEO Mark Parker. “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.”

Adidas, the brand that has been  outfitting the league since taking over for subsidiary brand Reebok in 2006, said earlier this year that it would not attempt to renegotiate an extension. Reportedly, there was tension behind the scenes as NBA executives and Adidas officials had differing visions for the partnership. As Adidas, the Germany-based company continued to put most of its efforts into the more globally visible sport of soccer, they dropped in the U.S. sales rankings, as Under Armour became No. 2 in sales behind Nike. An additional report stated that the 11-year contract was estimated to be valued at $400 million, and executives said it hadn’t paid off as expected

“This partnership with Nike represents a new paradigm in the structure of our global merchandising business,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a 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 oncourt products.”

One notable change in design that’s already planned is the addition of the Nike logo on team jerseys, which is a first for the league. It joins most other sports in the addition, most notably soccer, but also the NFL – for which Nike has designed uniforms for since 2012, and recently extend the rights through 2019.

Speaking with Bloomberg Business of the addition of the logo on apparel, Brian Yarbrough, an analyst for Edward Jones & Co said, “Having the Nike logo on the jerseys can help grow the business, the bigger aspect is it keeps the competitors’ logos off the jerseys.”

Leaked Details On The 2015-2016 NBA Uniforms

As previously reported, Adidas – the current NBA uniform supplier – will not renew their contract with the league following the conclusion of the 2016-17 NBA season. ESPN reported earlier this year that Adidas global basketball manager Chris Grancio had been quoted saying that the current deal, worth a reported $400 million, “wasn’t as lucrative as the company had hoped.”

[Related: Drake Promises To Rebrand The Toronto Raptors By 2016]

Today however, news of the uniforms for next season has appeared in the form of an Adidas catalog which surfaced in a popular online sports blog. The catalog provides looks at several key insights into the forth coming uniform changes, and ESPN has compiled the “highlights” which can be found below -

• Five teams will be getting makeovers for next season: the 76ers, Bucks, Clippers, Hawks and Raptors. None of these designs has been officially released yet, nor are they shown in the catalog…

• The Nuggets will be making some adjustments to their lettering and uniform numbers, but their basic design template will not be changing.

• The Rockets will have an updated tailoring silhouette and will also be making a small adjustment to their uniform number.

• The Mavericks will be rolling out the new alternate uniform designed by Mavs fan Geoff Case. This design was unveiled last September but has not yet been worn.

• Many teams have new alternate or pride jerseys in the works. The league has its own classification system for these jerseys, depending on whether they can be worn only at home, only on the road or both.

• Several additional teams will apparently be experimenting with “Stretch” versions of their road jerseys. It’s not yet clear what this will entail.

• Nine teams will be wearing throwback uniforms. The most intriguing designs are for the Warriors, who’ll be wearing their gold “The City” jersey, widely considered to be one of the best uniforms in basketball history, and the Grizzlies, who’ll be dressing up as the ABA’s old Memphis Sounds.

• The Heat will have a “military uniform.” The design is not yet available, but at least two other NBA teams, the Spurs and Raptors, have previously paid tribute to the military by wearing camouflage.

While it’s clear that many teams are going to be sporting new looks next year, one of the more exciting uniform changes takes place in Toronto where the Raptors will step onto the court in newly designed black and gold “Drake Alternate” jerseys several times next year. Drake, the prolific rapper and Toronto native, was appointed the team’s Global Ambassador back in 2013 – in advance of the team’s 20th anniversary and their hosting of the 2016 NBA All Star game.

Following the 2016-17 season, it’s unclear who will make the NBA’s jersey going forward – but it’s widely believed that Nike and Under Armour will be apart of the companies vying for the contract. Adidas will maintain a strong presence in the NBA, as they currently sponsor NBA All-Stars Derrick Rose,Dwight Howard, Damian Lillard, Jeff Teague and Tim Duncan. In an interview with Business Journal, Grancio said “We haven’t been able to elevate our brand for the basketball consumer that we’re targeting, we ultimately decided that we would change our investment strategy and invest more in players on the court.”

Farewell to Adidas NBA Jerseys

As Adidas goes through a reinvention, the sporting apparel company says it will not bid to stay on as the outfitter for NBA-branded merchandise beyond the 2016-17 season.

AP reports that the Germany-based company issued a statement saying that “while we have enjoyed a successful long-term relationship with the (NBA) league, we continually review our partner agreements to ensure they are meeting out investment and delivering on our brand and business needs.

[Related:Obama on Paying College Basketball Players]

Sports industry insiders speculate that Adidas is shifting its strategy from basketball to other sports that may help increase declining revenues. Despite being the official NBA product manufacturer of jerseys and other licensed clothing since 2006, Adidas has slipped to No. 3 in sporting apparel behind Nike and Under Armour.

Bloomberg reports that Adidas is to roll out its new strategy on March 27. The two brands will continue the terms of their 11-year partnership through 2017 but the NBA is expected to announce a new partner soon.

Watch Bloomberg: Adidas Drops NBA Deal in Sports Strategy Shift below.

Nike Replaces Adidas As China’s National Football Sponsor

The China Football Association recently released news of a changing of the guards, which would find Nike replacing Adidas as the sport’s national sponsor.

Beginning this year, Nike will be the new supporter of Chinese national football teams. According to reports, the Swoosh’s backing fees will be more than ¥100 million renminbi each year. The deal has been stabilized for 10-12 years and Nike would provide about 30% of the deal by physical supplies. The rest would be through sheer finances.

The Chinese National Football Team is preparing for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia. New kits would feature the Nike logo and are slated to be directly transported to Australia from around the world. Nike plans on revealing the official shirt designs later this month.

Nike, according to parties privy to the deal, will serve as patron to all seven national teams, including men’s and women’s national football teams. This will also include the country’s national Olympic team, and a few youth teams. Prior to Nike replacing Adidas, the German multinational conglomerate was a 30-year partner of Chinese national football teams. Adidas had priority rights for renewal of the deal, but it was said that the corporation gave up renewing.

Adidas appeared to have reduced their level of investment in the Chinese National Football Team. Their partnership ended on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014. In addition to Nike, several international and domestic brands such as Puma and 361 Degrees International Limited showed interest during the second half of 2014.

The meeting between the China Football Association and Nike took place on January 3 with the President of Chinese Football Industry Development Corporation overseeing the affairs. The CFIDC is in charge of market affairs for national football teams in China.

SOURCE: Yutang Sports

The Sports Résumé: Top Sports-Employment Sectors

Securing a job within the sports industry is very competitive as employers receive at least 200 applications per job opening.

With sports industry companies (i.e. media networks, professional franchises and athletic departments) adopting technology at a fast pace, it’s no surprise that most of the employment positions require candidates to have a proficiency in the use of social media platforms and various computer languages. New jobs requiring either category as a minimum requirement or preferred qualification are posted daily.

Most of the social media-related positions are posted by the professional sports franchises (i.e. San Francisco Giants) and league office headquarters (NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR). The job descriptions are vague, not specific in listing required competencies. This may make it difficult for candidates to conduct self-assessments and determine their qualifications. Listed below is a sample job description (Skills / Qualifications section) from an employer seeking a coordinator for social content.

Skills/Qualifications:

• 1-2 years social or editorial experience, preferably in online medium and in the sports industry.
• Must be willing to work early mornings, nights and/or weekends.
• Bachelor’s degree preferred.
• Strong written and verbal communication skills.
• Strong organizational skills.
• Proven (Employer Name) knowledge that lends itself to sound news and social-worthy judgment.
• Strong computer skills familiarity with electronic communication.
• Some knowledge of Photoshop or social photo applications preferred.

A great resource for learning coding: Codecademy, which provides free online training in multiple computer languages.

Jobs with more defined technology compositions are those seeking candidates with specific degree requirements (i.e. Computer Science, Information Systems) and programming language proficiency (i.e. PHP, HTML5, Java, Javascript, CSS, C++). The majority of the employers seeking tech-related talent are the Sports Networks (i.e. ESPN, Fox Sports, SKY Sports) Apparel Manufacturers (i.e. Nike, Under Armour, New Balance, Adidas) and Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM).

In summary, it appears that sports industry employers will be in competition with the major tech companies in recruiting employees in the near future.