Nike & Racing

“Just Do It.” Ordinary words that when said together, no matter the context, make us think of one company, Nike.  Nike started off as a simple concept called Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964, they distributed shoes for a Japanese company that we now know as Asics(O’Reilly, 2014). After getting a start in the running world Nike is now a company that has a presence in almost every sport around the world. Wether you support a Nike sponsored athlete, you enjoy wearing Nike shoes, or Nike is your go to for athletic clothes, you have probably had some sort of relationship with the company. Nike is also the parent company to other brands like Hurley, Converse, and Jordan, making their reach even broader. My relationship with the company, my love for their shoes, is the reason I decided to choose them as the focus for my final project.

While I love Nike as a brand the one issue I have ever had with them is that they are not involved in my sport. Nike is involved with just about every sport on the planet, so what sport could I participate in that they did not sell something for. Drag racing or if we wanted to be more broad automobile racing. They don’t sell racing shoes or garments, they don’t sponsor any racing athletes, they are simply uninvolved in the racing world. I even searched their website to ensure that I was just not missing something, but you can see from the screen grab below, Nike and racing don’t mix.

Nike Search

After digging a little deeper I found that at one point Nike did sponsor Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Michael Schumacher in the late 1990s, but the deal seemed to have ended by the time the 2000s rolled around(Engvall, 2016). I think with Nike’s original venture into racing taking place twenty years ago, the time is right to retry being a part of automobile racing. NHRA Drag Racing viewership is constantly growing, and setting new records “…taped NHRA eliminations from New Jersey earned a 1.0 final rating and 1.6 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 Sunday, up 43% in ratings and 52% in viewership from last year…(Paulsen, 2017)”

NHRA on FS1

The Nike Race Shoe would be a fresh idea that could be useful to anyone who participates in or watches any form of automobile racing. Utilizing Nike’s vast history of designing and producing shoes could create something never before seen in the racing industry. Research can be conducted at various types of racing events to gauge interest in various facets of the sport. Social media networks can help to gauge interest from local amateur racers. The shoes will be designed with the help of professional race car drivers, but the need will come from the amateur racers and fans. Entering into the automobile race industry with an essential product like a race shoe will allow Nike to grow in the space with other products down the road.

References: 

Engvall , N. (2016, February 22). Nike Racing Footwear. Retrieved January 12, 2018, from http://sneakerhistory.com/2016/02/dale-earnhardt-sr-the-intimidator-and-nike-racing-footwear-past/

O’Reilly, L. (2014, November 04). 11 Things Hardly Anyone Knows About Nike. Retrieved January 10, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-nike-facts-about-its-50th-anniversary-2014-11

Paulsen. (2017, September 14). NHRA Sets New Viewership Record. Retrieved January 12, 2018, from http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2017/06/nhra-ratings-fs1-record-viewership-new-jersey/

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