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Nike Soccer Gear – The Story
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Nike Soccer Gear – The Story

Nike is a word almost everyone knows. They have produced sports equipment on the same level as Adidas and Puma has, but was founded much later. Actually in 1964 track athlete Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman founded a company called Blue Ribbon Sports. They were both from the University of Oregon and their business started out as a support company of Asics, or Onitsuka Tiger as it was originally named. This name was changed in 1977 when Onitsuka Tiger merged with two other companies called GTO and Jelenk. But back to Nike!

The first retail shop came in 1967 and the profit grew fast. Blue Ribbon sports wanted to produce their own shoes. And in 1971 the launch of the first series was almost ready. The relationship with Onitsuka Tiger was nearing its end, and so were the name Blue Ribbon Sports. Nikes first shoe series was to be called Swoosh. These shoes were designed by Carolyn Davidson a graphic designer from the Portland State University. The Swoosh series became known worldwide, and was a huge success. Carolyn billed Nike 35$ for her design, and did not leave the company until 1983.

Blue Ribbon Sports officially changed name to Nike in 1978 and by 1980 Nike reached a U.S marked share of 50% on athletic shoes. The company launched their first TV commercial in 1982 which was during the New York Marathon in October. It was also through the 1980s that Nike started to produce clothing’s and other appeals were added to their production line. While their first products were running shoes, they would now support a large range of different apparels including shorts, jerseys for basketball, soccer, football and other sports.

Nike started to buyout companies, starting with the high-end shoe company Cole Haan in 1988. Hurley International was the next company to be added which happened in 2002. And in 2003 Converse Inc. was bought for US$309 million. Last company to be added was Umbro. Now Umbro was known to deliver soccer equipment throughout Europe, and was delivering jerseys for the English National team.

Today Nike is one of the biggest sponsors for a lot of the known sport stars. In Tennis they sponsor names like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Serena Williams. In golf they sponsor names like Tiger Woods and Paul Casey and in soccer; they sponsor some of the best national teams in the world including Brazil, Portugal and France. Also teams like FC Barcelona and Manchester United plays in Nike equipment and bring the company huge amounts of value. However names like Michael Jordan has probably been the greatest boost to the business in the 1980s.

But there have been bumps on their way to success. Especially human rights on the factories throughout the world have had issues. In the 1990s there were several accusations about child labor in countries like Pakistan and Cambodia. This ended up in a documentary in 2001 by BBC with a focus on girls working 7 days a week and 16 hours a day. Nike still suffers from these accusations today like most other big vendors who produce products in different foreign countries where it is difficult to monitor the labors.

Nike has a large production of great Soccer cleats and soccer gear in general which is used both in Major League Soccer and throughout Europe. Players like Christiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from AC Milan plays in the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly III which is a high-end soccer boot and in direct competition with the Adidas F50 AdiZero.


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