Nike is exiting the snowboarding and freeskiing industry again. Nike’s exit may create an opportunity for its primary competitor, Adidas, which has been quietly building a presence in this market for over a year.
Nike reentered the industry with the hopes of becoming a leader by capitalizing on its popularity, brand recognition and financial resources. Nike’s reentry was aggressive, and included signing established professionals — headlined by Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg — and up-and-comers like 16-year-old snowboarder Ellery Hollingsworth, investing in building and improving snow parks across the globe and creating the Never Not movie that appealed to hardcore riders as well as outsiders.
Despite all this investment, Nike couldn’t generate the returns it was expecting. At Nike, as with any corporation, it’s ultimately about the bottom line.
Adidas has had a different approach to its entry in the industry, and it may pay dividends. According to Jess Weinstein, Global Brand Marketing Director for adidas Action Sports, Adidas’ strategy includes focusing on the snowboard publications for six target markets and collaborating with its riders to create original films.
Adidas even took two years to plan, design and develop its introductory product line. In addition, adidas used its online WELCOME video series to promote its riding team. Whether Adidas will be able to capitalize on Nike’s departure remains to be seen.