NBA Lockout Not Hurting Nike, adidas Basketball Sales So Far

by November 21, 2011

There’s been talk in the business world about how much the current NBA lockout was supposed to cut into sneaker and apparel companies’ bottom line, but so far, the League’s two biggest partners aren’t doing too bad at all. From the Oregonian: “Nike is the dominant basketball sneaker brand, controlling about 95 percent of sales in the U.S. through Nike Basketball, Brand Jordan and Converse. ‘Will that energy continue if the NBA lockout continues?’ Nike Brand president Charlie Denson said to stock analysts and others in September. ‘I believe it will. Basketball never stops. It’s truly becoming a global game. Between international leagues, national team play, the upcoming Olympics, the college game here in the U.S., we see basketball continuing to grow.’ Basketball sneaker buyers so far are proving Denson correct. In October, sales were higher than the same month last year, said Matt Powell, an analyst for the SportsOneSource Group, who predicted several weeks ago that the lockout would have little to no effect on shoe sales. ‘Television is much less important to selling sneakers today than it was in 1999,’ during the last extended NBA work stoppage, Powell said. ‘Sneaker sales are much more influenced by the web today. Brands get more exposure for products on YouTube than they do on (ESPN) SportsCenter.’ On the other hand, sales of NBA-licensed merchandise — jerseys, T-shirts, hats, trinkets and the rest — are expected to drop by at least a half, analysts say. ‘That’s where the lockout hurts,’ said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with The NPD Group. Total NBA product sales last year were about $3 billion, Powell said. Adidas, which is about midway through an 11-year partnership as the league’s official uniform and apparel supplier, had about $350 million in NBA-related clothing sales last year. Analysts say, however, that the biggest benefit for Adidas in its apparel deal is having its three-stripes logo on NBA uniforms and, as a result, visible to stadium and television audiences. In that regard, the season has been a total loss of the company, which keeps its North American headquarters in North Portland which is also where NBA uniforms are designed. An Adidas spokeswoman noted only that the Germany-based company’s latest quarterly earnings statement included growing sales of basketball footwear. A statement from Nike said, ‘like basketball fans everywhere, we look forward to the lockout being resolved.'”