Nike Tries to Enter Niche Sports
The new campaign, called “The Chosen,” is Nike’s largest effort at moving into action sports, and features athletes like the skateboarder Paul Rodriguez (or P-Rod), the surfer Laura Enever and the snowboarder Danny Kass. “When we looked at action sports, we saw a unique consumer segment that was underserved in terms of product innovation,” Mark G. Parker, Nike’s chief executive and president, said at a shareholder meeting.
Action sports are a $390 million business for Nike, and executives hope that figure doubles over the next five years. Nike’s biggest competitors in the youth-oriented action sports arena include brands like Quiksilver, O’Neill, Volcom and Billabong.
Big brands that want to enter the action sports market have to contend with the somewhat insular culture of certain sports and with the athletes’ loyalty to smaller, edgier brands. For the last few years, Nike has been on a steady mission to penetrate the market by creating sub-brands like Nike 6.0 and buying smaller brands like Hurley.
And they seem to be getting it right.
“They did their homework,” said Bernie Baker, the former Hawaii editor at Surfer Magazine and the contest director for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, who cited Nike’s “relentless promotion of youth events” as one of the driving factors in
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