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  • The Nike/USATF Partnership

    I like this news from USATF: (excerpting a communique)

    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. . . 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.
    . . .
    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.
    This is, of course, not new news, but Uncle Phil has been good to us and deserves all the props we can give him.

  • #2
    While I am very supportive of anything that gives more money to emerging elite athletes, I am very concerned about the strings that might be attached to this. I would assume that anyone who gets this money has to wear Nike.

    That creates a lot of issues with the support other companies have for athletes. For example, I manage an Elite Development Club. We're sponsored by Brooks, so they give us discounts on buying our uniforms and they sponsor a certain number of our top athletes with free shoes and gear.

    We have had athletes in the past get grants from the USATF Foundation, and if this new funding expanded that type of thing, we probably have a few people who would be eligible.

    I would think that supporting the Elite Development Club system would be one of the many great ways USATF could distribute this money. In our case, we already provide a small amount of funding to our top athletes, so any additional money brought in would go 100% toward the athletes. But lots of those clubs are supported by non-Nike shoe companies.


    I think that if this new funding does require the athletes to wear Nike, the long-term results could be negative for USATF as a whole. It seems like ~20 years ago, there were a wide variety of corporate sponsors. Now there are only a handful shoe companies. I registered my website as a corporate sponsor with USATF, and they made it very difficult, they wanted lots of money and hoops to jump through.

    Now it seems like USATF is going to make it harder for all of the other shoe companies to be involved as well.

    If Nike was announcing that they were going to expand their cash (non-gear) support of emerging elite athletes, I would be supportive of that. Maybe it would encourage other shoe companies to step up.

    But the fact that this is coming from USATF makes me uneasy, simply because it is not clear what strings are attached to it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by polevaultpower
      I am very concerned about the strings that might be attached to this. I would assume that anyone who gets this money has to wear Nike.
      It would be nice if you knew the facts before 'pre-criticizing'. This is not a slam; I just mean - what ARE the facts? I agree it would defeat the point if the adidas/Brooks/NB/Puma athletes HAD to switch allegiance to get support, but maybe USATF gets to divvy up the $$$ without regard to who's sponsoring whom. Get to the bottom of this, Becca!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Marlow
        It would be nice if you knew the facts before 'pre-criticizing'.
        Well if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black! :lol:

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