What's happening to Nike in sport: why the champions' flight has begun

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What's happening to Nike in sport: why the champions' flight has begun

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Why are so many athletes leaving Nike ? Many are wondering and it is a trend that has been going on for a few months now. What is happening to one of the giants of world sport? There is a real exodus of stars and it all has to do with financial restrictions.

Before Christmas the American brand revealed that, as a company, it will have to save 2 billion dollars over the next three years thanks to poor sales: the hope is to “streamline the organization” and save money, but Nike recently announced that 2% of its worldwide workforce, believed to be 83,000 people, will lose their jobs and many employees face redundancy.

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A ripple effect could also affect the world of athletes. What does it mean? In addition to Nike for Life athletes, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kevin Durant , it is likely that many endorsement contracts will not be renewed soon.

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The latest examples are Kane, Casemiro and Grealish. The England captain started wearing black shoes last summer, shortly before his move to Bayern Munich, and then word came of his partnership with American footwear company Skechers, which was making its first real foray into football boot market. Casemiro moved to Adidas and Grealish agreed with Puma.

Nike is focusing more on women's football, an aspect of the game that has shown that its growing popularity produces more revenue: Chelsea's 13-year deal with Sam Kerr is reportedly worth $1 million a year and Alexia Putellas, two-time Ballon d'Or winner and midfielder for Spain and Barcelona, is also close to a very similar figure.

It is clear that the repercussions of Nike's financial instability on most sports will be inevitable: the farewell of athletes of the caliber of Tiger Woods or Roger Federer, who have become icons in their sectors, cannot be overcome simply or treated as a simple 'closing a page'.

According to other sources consulted by the Daily Mail , however, the departures of numerous athletes are not related to budget and staff cuts, which have largely been attributed to rising production costs in the retail sector, but are part of a very specific growth action.

But we need to make a discussion that goes beyond footballers and also touches other sports: athletics, for example, is a sport that has Nike at its center and numerous managers have made it clear that if it withdraws its support for their stars, the side professionalism of this sport would collapse in a major crisis.

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Many analysts have spoken out about Nike's decisions and said that, in their eyes, the announcement was brought forward to learn whether their sales, or lack thereof, were due to them becoming a less attractive brand. or whether consumers as a whole were simply spending less.

The knock-on effects of the brand's pessimism were quickly noticed, however, as a long line of athletes had to rearrange their deals ahead of schedule. In the coming months, if there are more athletes leaving Nike, we will understand the extent of this situation.

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