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Takeaway: James Harden's start with Adidas, and remembering 10/2 -- The ups and downs of Athlete Endorsements.

AdiBok, NKE - On the first day of his contract, Adidas delivered a truckload of shoes to James Harden.  Now he won't have to wear Jordans when going to the movies.


After Nike was dealt several blows in the sports endorsement world by UA -- starting with Kevin Durant, then Misty Copeland, Jordan Spieth, Tom Brady and Steph Curry -- Nike finally wins one in the press at the expense of Adidas' endorsement of James Harden. Not only is Adi paying Harden a total of $200mm over the next 13 years, but it also had to self deprecate itself (we don't know what else to call a truckload delivery) after the basketball player was spotted wearing Jordans and Nike in public not once but twice since singing the deal. That begs the question for Adi as to whether the investment is really worth it. Nike and Jordan collectively have 97% share of the US basketball market. And, if Adidas can't get its players to buy into the brand (who it is paying handsomely) then how does it convince the consumer to give it a shot?

Retail Callouts (10/2) | Ups and Downs in Athlete Endorsements, NKE, AdiBok, UA, JWN, AMZN - 10 2 2015 chart1

Retail Callouts (10/2) | Ups and Downs in Athlete Endorsements, NKE, AdiBok, UA, JWN, AMZN - 10 2 2015 chart2

Harden leaving the theater in mid-September

Image source: TMZ

BUT...Let's Keep Nike's Ego In Check On This One

Anyone know what today is? It was October 2, 1996 that Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with Cancer. Nike subsequently commercialized his ensuing popularity into its 'yellow bracelet' business, which exceeded $100mm, and then into 'wear yellow' apparel and footwear line, which we think approached $400mm at its peak. Needless to say, that business is close to zero today.  Just a subtle reminder as to how quickly and dramatically things can change in the athlete endorsement world.

Retail Callouts (10/2) | Ups and Downs in Athlete Endorsements, NKE, AdiBok, UA, JWN, AMZN - 10 2 2015 chart3

NKE - Nike Forced to Hand Over Communications with Lance Armstrong. Court is assessing whether Armstrong must return more than $30 million paid to him by the U.S. Postal Service in sponsorship money.


AMZN - Amazon announces that Apple TV and Chromecast will not longer be sold via Amazon saying it wants to avoid customer confusion since these players don’t interact well with the Prime Video platform.  Roku, Xbox and PlayStation are unaffected.


JWN - Nordstrom has closed on the sale of its credit card portfolio to TD Bank.  The company is using the $2.2bn in proceeds to pay off debt, issue a special cash dividend of $4.85 per share, and increase share buyback by $1bn.


Neiman Marcus cuts 500 jobs bringing the headcount to 15,500.


JCP - JC Penney taking action to reduce the risk of its pension plan, by offering a lump sum to some participants, and entering into agreement to pass portion of obligation over to Prudential.


KSS - Madden Girl launching at Kohl's on Oct 15th.


DKS - SVP and CMO Lauren Hobart named Executive VP, CMO and general manager of Dick’s new women's store Chelsea Collective. She will retain marketing oversight for all Dick’s lines of business.


WMT - Walmart opening yet another e-commerce fulfillment center, this one in Atlanta.


Gilt by Appointment seeing average order values more than twice as high as those placed via its e-commerce site.


ShoeBuy Appoints Bob Mullaney as COO and President 


BEBE - bebe stores, inc. eliminates 50 positions in workforce reorganization.  Expecting $4.8mm in annual savings.


SVU - SUPERVALU CEO Sam Duncan Announces Plan to Retire February 2016. He served as CEO since February 2013, appointed as part of sale to Albertson's.


CHS - Chico's appoints Cynthia A. Fields, former Victoria Secret CEO to its Board of Directors