Signed to a massive 11-year/$400 million deal, adidas has been the NBA's official apparel partner since 2006, pumping out as many short-sleeved jerseys and bizarrely themed/gimmick jerseys as the NBA's online store would carry. To date, pair has had a seemingly prosperous relationship—as early as 2012, adidas and the league began discussing terms to extend the current deal beyond 2017. Today, however, adidas has announced that it has walked away from negotiations, and won't be working any further to score an extension. This comes after the NBA told adidas last Friday that they'd like to open up rights negotiations with other companies. According to the Wall Street Journal, league executives have been growing concerned with adidas' shrinking basketball market share.
Breaking: Adidas announces that it will not renew its contract w/the NBA after it expires following the 2016-17 season.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 16, 2015
Speaking to the Portland Business Journal, Chris Grancio, adidas' global basketball general manager, was blunt about the brand's own self-described shortcomings. In the minds of adidas brass, another massive contract with the NBA wasn't going to help bridge the gap between themselves and Nike and Jordan brand, two companies that have combined to account for 96 percent of basketball sneaker sales.
I think @richmazelopez is spot-on re: adidas not renewing NBA apparel deal. NBA is gonna add team sponsors soon, so the stripes lose value.— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) March 16, 2015
"We haven't been able to elevate our brand for the basketball consumer that we're targeting," Grancio said. "We ultimately decided that we would change our investment strategy and invest more in players on the court."
Grancio stresses that adidas basketball, which does annual sales of over $1 billion, isn't scaling down, but rather reinvesting elsewhere. As part of their new five-year plan for basketball relevance, adidas will double their basketball sponsorship roster from 70 to 140 over the next five years, invest in more high school and college teams, and higher new designers.
"We thought now was the best time to finalize some key decisions. The NBA is a great partner. We think there are bigger opportunities in terms of player marketing and brand marketing," added Grancio.
Almost immediately after the news broke, Twitter started celebrating:
Get these Adidas NBA jerseys out of here.— Lord Almighty (@Sixfever) March 16, 2015
Adidas leaving NBA……hopefully they take their stupid softball jersey with them. Worst idea since White Sox wore shorts.— BGregory (@B_gregory) March 16, 2015
Stupid ass sleeved jerseys were the only shit Adidas came up w/during deal with the NBA that I'll remember. Of course it wasn't lucrative.— BIG LECHUGA (@Juicemanji) March 16, 2015
And plotting on the next move on behalf of the NBA and potential new partners. Nike and Under Amour must smell blood in the water. Will Champion get involved too?
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank recently spoke to NBA's marketing staff. NBA commish Adam Silver is impressed with Plank and UA.— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) March 16, 2015
Nike, Champion NBA jerseys BIKE!— Dynamics • £ (@theDYNAMICS) March 16, 2015
Personally I'm rooting for Champion to get the NBA jersey deal but hey that's just me— Abe Schwadron (@abe_squad) March 16, 2015
Under Armour gotta bid like 2 billion dollars to get this NBA jersey sponsor— Yu (@YucciMane) March 16, 2015
NBA probably gonna sign a 25 year deal with Reebok or something to piss us off.— RAOPodcast.com (@ampaveli) March 16, 2015
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