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Sports Shorts: Nike's Kaepernick ad spurs spike in sold-out items

September 20, 2018 16:00 IST
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A summary of sports events and persons who made news on Thursday

 Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick appears as a face of Nike Inc advertisement marking the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" slogan in this image released by Nike in Beaverton, Oregon, USA on September 4

IMAGE: Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick appears as a face of Nike Inc advertisement marking the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" slogan in this image released by Nike in Beaverton, Oregon, USA on September 4. Photograph: Courtesy Nike/Handout via Reuters

Nike Inc has sold out 61 percent more merchandise since the controversial ad campaign featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick appeared earlier this month, according to data on the company's online sales from Thomson Reuters Proprietary Research.


Kaepernick, who sparked a national controversy by kneeling during the national anthem, first tweeted the ad on the Labor Day weekend, which immediately sparked demands for a boycott of the company's products.

President Donald Trump also tweeted, without providing evidence, that "Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts".

But the research by Thomson Reuters, conducted in collaboration with StyleSage Co, showed the world's largest sportswear maker sold out far more items between September 3 and September 13 than in the 10-day period before the ad came out.

Nike discounted fewer products in the 10-day period after the ad and saw its Colin Kaepernick women's jersey sell out on September 17, the research also showed.

"These strong statistics reinforce the notion that Nike is standing firm -- and not just in a social context," said Jharonne Martis, director of consumer research at Thomson Reuters.

"They don't need to participate in the discounting that tends to plague other retail brands."

Thomson Reuters is the parent company of Reuters News.

Shares in Nike have rebounded from an initial drop when the first versions of the ad were released, hitting a record high a little over a week later.

The stock is now up nearly 7 percent since the drop, outperforming a 1.9 percent gain for the Dow <.DJI> over the same period, helped by at least four analysts raising price targets ahead of first-quarter results on Sept. 25.

Social media sentiment around the company, which dived in the immediate aftermath of the ad, also turned positive earlier this week, according to Thomson Reuters' Eikon Social Media Monitor.

"(Nike's) new "Just Do It" ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick was a stroke of genius ... this premeditated move was another subtle but significant sign of Nike's strength and confidence in its position in the marketplace," Canaccord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon wrote in a client note last week.

Milan and Cortina revive Italy's 2026 Winter Games bid

Italy forged ahead with its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics on Wednesday, hurriedly revising its original plans to stage the games across three cities and instead proposing a joint initiative by just Milan and Cortina.

The government announced on Tuesday that a proposal to hold the games in Turin, Milan and Cortina had collapsed because of divisions between the three city halls and said that it would not support any new alternative projects.

However, with preliminary bids due to be presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) next month, the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto said they planned to push ahead with a Milan-Cortina project and leave Turin out in the cold.

"At this point it is unthinkable to throw everything away. The application must be saved, so we are willing to undertake this challenge together (with Lombardy)," said Luca Zaia, who is head of the Veneto region, which includes Cortina.

Three cities have already pulled out of the 2026 Olympic race, with Japan's Sapporo, Switzerland's Sion and Austria's Graz all previously announcing their decision to withdraw.

Calgary, Stockholm and Turkey's Erzurum are the only three definitely left in the running, with the IOC next month due to name the city or cities which will enter the one-year candidature phase.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said it was ready to support the Milan-Cortina project, but urged Turin to come back on board. "There is still time and I hope that good sense will prevail," CONI chief Giovanni Malago told Rai radio.

The mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino, denied walking away from the pact and accused Milan and Cortina of plotting behind her back. She told La Stampa newspaper that she had asked for clarifications about the three-way bid but received no answer.

Appendino is a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, while the regional heads of Lombardy and Veneto are both from the rightist League party.

The collapse of the Turin-Milan-Cortina bid caused friction within the coalition government in Rome, which is made up of 5-Star and the League, and 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio has refused to let government cash support any new candidacy.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala said he hoped the government would help the new bid, but predicted that the wealthy Lombardy and Veneto regions could fill any eventual funding gap.

"The economic output of Lombardy and Veneto is bigger than that of Sweden or Austria," Sala told RTL radio.

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