USATF Extends Sponsorship with Nike, release, comments by Larry Eder

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In a surprise announcement, Doug Logan, CEO of USATF, announced an extension on the sponsorship by Nike through 2013, with an option to renew through 2017. If Chicago wins the Olympic bid for 2016, the renewal price goes up, per Logan, 'substantially."

Logan admitted that the negotiations, which started late last summer, were challenging, difficult and intense. In the end, Logan told the assembled media, there was a strong increase, bringing the sponsorship much closer to the real market value of the federation. He felt that the new deal respects what he sees as the true value of USA Track & Field.

Remember, sports fans, that way back in 1996, the uniform of USATF, valued only for its showcasing on NBC TV, was given a value of $177 million dollars. At the time, the national uniform was just over $ 1 million a year. In 2008, the reported value of the contract, between money, product, and media support, was six to seven times that each and every year.

Logan also noted that Nike is moving into other types of support, including helping athletes who have talent but no sponsorship and the US versus Jamaica meeting. That meeting is a great showcase for Nike, as only Nike uniforms go onto all US athletes, even athletes like Tyson Gay and Allyson Felix, who are sponsored by adidas. Think adidas will be happy about that event? Be serious.


But, this is business. Did you notice the Jamaican team sweats, from Nike, at the NIke Pre Classic. Jamaica is sponsored by PUMA, however, certain athletes have Nike affiliations. Don't get mad at any company, as all companies have tried such guerrilla marketing.

Doug Logan has a definite vision for the sport. It seems that USATF will be developing its own events, managing athletes not under sponsorship eyes of major brands or sponsors, and developing new sponsors for the sport. A rather bullish approach, but also one, I fear, that could have many minefields.

RBR applauds the early extension of sponsorship, but notes that other companies besides footwear companies will have interest in our sport, if we professionalize and make it, per Doug Logan, "accountable." It was a wise move by Nike, to sew up the deal, as it keeps other companies out of the competition. A company with three white stripes made an impressive offer during the last renewal negotiations, which made Nike use its first right of refusal. This time around, there was a time when USATF could speak to no one about the negotiations. Nike knows the value of the sponsorship, and as USATF becomes more professional and accountable, Nike's sponsorship will provide dividends.

RBR encourages Doug Logan to continue to work with stakeholders in the sport, from athletes, to agents, to meet directors, who have survived the Dark Ages of track & field, as it seems to be portrayed. Otherwise, the battle for the hearts and minds of our sport, the battle for the soul of our sport, could be bloodier than the Balkan conflict.

The dance will be fascinating to watch. We can agree that there are smart people, who love the sport, and have different ways to developing their parts of the sport.

USATF has gone through many changes this year: a new board, a new CEO, a new President, a Director of High Performance, and a new constitution. Change is difficult, but for our sport to prosper, change has to happen.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Contact:
Jill M. Geer
USA Track & Field
Chief Public Affairs Officer
508-520-1529;
[email protected]
USATF extends partnership with Nike; Elite Athletes to receive unprecedented support

EUGENE, Ore. - USA Track & Field and Nike will extend their partnership under a new agreement that provides innovative support for professional and emerging elite athletes, USATF CEO Doug Logan announced Friday.

Nike has been USATF's National Team Sponsor since 1991, but the new contract, which extends through 2013 with an option to renew through 2017, broadens Nike's support beyond the competitive arena.

Most significantly, it establishes a "Project 30 Fund" to aid up-and-coming athletes. Taking its name from USATF's Project 30 Task Force, which called for greater support for post-college athletes, the fund will be administered by USATF for athletes who lack shoe-company sponsorship but who have medal-winning potential, particularly in traditionally under-funded event groups.

USATF's High Performance Department, headed by Chief of Sport Performance Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, will oversee distribution of support, which may range from compensation for personal coaches and support staff to sponsorship of athletes at USATF High Performance Training Centers, among other possibilities. The partnership also includes a commitment by Nike to support numerous professional track athletes annually.

"We worked together with Nike to craft something that reflects the fair market value of our brand while being much more than just a boilerplate sponsorship," Logan said. "Thanks to Nike's support, USA Track & Field will be able to enact many of the key recommendations of the Project 30 Task Force, and to provide a safety net of support that so many post-collegiate athletes are currently lacking. With more of their necessities taken care of, athletes can focus on training, and performing, to their full potential."

"Track and field was the cornerstone of Nike's founding, and we remain committed to being a partner in the future of the sport," said John Capriotti, Nike Global Director of Athletics Sport Marketing. "We are excited to add this new component of athlete-centered funding to our sponsorship of USA Track & Field."

As USATF National Team Sponsor and the world's leading creator of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories, Nike has specially designed uniforms for the last five Olympic Games. Under the new agreement with USATF, Nike maintains its status as exclusive sponsor and supplier of products to the World's #1 Track and Field Team while being USATF's official sponsor in the footwear, apparel and retail categories.

Nike will be a major sponsor of the USA vs. Jamaica Challenge meets in 2010 and will continue to sponsor USA Track & Field's Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Nike will outfit all USATF teams in international competitions, including the Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Pan American Games and World Junior Championships, among other meets. The agreement also continues Nike's sponsorship of USA vs. The World, first held in 2000, and of key stops on the Visa Championship Series, USATF's signature series of indoor and outdoor track and field meets.

About USA Track & Field

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org . For more on the Project 30 Task Force, visit http://www.usatf.org/news/view.aspx?DUID=USATF_2009_02_09_07_03_07

About NIKE, Inc.

NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned Nike subsidiaries include Cole Haan, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football (soccer) brand. For more information, visit http://www.nikebiz.com.

To read the complete announcement from USATF web, please link to: http://www.usatf.org/news/view.aspx?duid=USATF_2009_06_26_07_40_40


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following places:

http://www.iaaf.org to learn about our global sport.

http://www.usatf.org to learn about the sport in the U.S.

http://www.runningnetwork.com to find a local running community, running store, running event, or to get involved in the grass roots culture of our sport.

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