Nike backs out of surfing business
By Oregon Small Business Association
Nike Surfing was launched in 2005 to manufacture and market surfing gear, but after seven years, Nike has decided to roll over its surfing business to its Hurley brand. Nike plans to double its investment in surfing, but it will do so by channeling funds and efforts through Hurley, which it acquired in 2002 for an estimated $100 million to $140 million.
All of Nike’s surf athletes, including Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore, and Julian Wilson, will join the Hurley team in January. This means that Hurley will be the top sponsor for eight of the world’s top 34 surfers. Nike has already announced that it is pulling out as the main sponsor of the US Open of Surfing, an event attended by close to a million people in 2012.
“Hurley is a well-known brand among surfers, but Nike Surfing isn’t,” said Marie Case, managing director of a marketing and research firm specializing in the action sports industry.
“Nike’s decision is a smart move because it’s likely a consolidation of resources,” Case said.
Peter “PT” Townend, surfing’s first world champion, agrees. He told the Orange County Register, “Instead of waging the war on two brand fronts, they made a decision that they are going to put all their horses into Hurley, at least when it comes to surfing.”
Bob Hurley, Hurley’s CEO and founder, is happy about the change. “I could not be more excited and energized at the next phase of our adventure,” he wrote in an email.
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