is a major publicly traded sportswear
and equipment supplier based in the United States.
The company is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon,
which is part of the Portland metropolitan area.
It is the world's leading supplier of
and a major
manufacturer of sports equipment with revenue in
excess of $18.6 billion USD in its fiscal year 2008
(ending May 31, 2008). As of 2008, it employed more
than 30,000 people worldwide. Nike and Precision
Castparts are the only Fortune 500 companies headquartered
in the state of Oregon, according to The Oregonian
The company was founded on January 25, 1964 as Blue
Ribbon Sports by
Bill Bowerman and
Philip Knight, and officially became Nike, Inc.
in 1978. The company takes its name from
Nike the Greek goddess of victory. Nike markets
its products under its own brand as well as Nike
Golf, Nike Pro,
Nike Skateboarding and subsidiaries including
also owned Bauer Hockey (later renamed
Nike Bauer) between 1995 and 2008. In
addition to manufacturing sportswear and equipment,
the company operates retail stores under the Niketown
name. Nike sponsors many high profile athletes and
sports teams around the world, with the highly recognized
trademarks of "Just do it" and the
Origins and history
Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, was
founded by University of Oregon track athlete Philip
Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman in January 1964.
The company initially operated as a distributor
for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger, making most
sales at track meets out of Knight's automobile.
The company's profits grew quickly, and in 1966,
BRS opened its first retail store, located on Pico
Santa Monica, California. By 1971, the relationship
between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger was nearing an end.
BRS prepared to launch its own line of footwear,
which would bear the newly designed
The first shoe to carry this design that was sold
to the public was a
soccer shoe named "Nike", which was
released in the summer of 1971. In February 1972,
BRS introduced its first line of Nike shoes, with
the name Nike derived from the Greek goddess of
victory. In 1978, BRS, Inc. officially renamed itself
to Nike, Inc. Beginning with
Ilie Nastase, the first professional athlete
to sign with BRS/nike, the sponsorship of athletes
became a key marketing tool for the rapidly growing
The company's first self-designed product was based
on Bowerman's "waffle" design. After the
University of Oregon resurfaced the track at Hayward
Field, Bowerman began experimenting with different
potential outsoles that would grip the new urethane
track more effectively. His efforts were rewarded
one Sunday morning when he poured liquid urethane
into his wife's waffle iron. Bowerman developed
and refined the so-called 'waffle' sole which would
evolve into the now-iconic Waffle Trainer in 1974.
By 1980, Nike had reached a 50% market share in
the United States athletic shoe market, and the
company went public in December of that year.
Its growth was due largely to 'word-of-foot' advertising
(to quote a Nike print ad from the late 1970s),
rather than television ads. Nike's first national
television commercials ran in October 1982 during
the broadcast of the New York Marathon. The ads
were created by Portland-based advertising agency
Wieden+Kennedy, which had formed several months
earlier in April 1982.
Together, Nike and Wieden+Kennedy have created many
indelible print and television ads and the agency
continues to be Nike's primary today. It was agency
co-founder Dan Wieden who coined the now-famous
slogan "Just Do It" for a 1988 Nike ad
campaign, which was chosen by Advertising Age
as one of the top five ad slogans of the 20th century,
and the campaign has been enshrined in the Smithsonian
Institution. San Franciscan Walt Stack was
featured in Nike's first "Just Do It"
advertisement that debuted on July 1, 1988.
Throughout the 1980s, Nike expanded its product
line to include many other sports and regions throughout
- As of November 2008, Nike, Inc. owns four
Converse Inc. and
- Nike's first acquisition was the upscale
- In February 2002, Nike bought surf apparel
- In July 2003, Nike paid US$305 million to
Converse Inc., makers of the iconic Chuck
Taylor All Stars.
- On March 3, 2008, Nike acquired sports
Umbro, known as the manufacturers of the
England national football team's
kits, in a deal said to be worth £285 million
(about US$600 million).
- Other subsidiaries previously owned and
subsequently sold by Nike include Bauer Hockey
Nike produces a wide range of sports equipment.
Their first products were track running shoes. They
currently also make shoes, jerseys, shorts, baselayers
etc. for a wide range of sports including track &
field, baseball, ice hockey, tennis, Association
football, lacrosse, basketball and cricket. Nike
Air Max is a line of shoes first released by Nike,
Inc. in 1987. The most recent additions to their
line are the Nike 6.0, Nike NYX, and Nike SB shoes,
designed for skateboarding. Nike has recently introduced
cricket shoes, called Air Zoom Yorker, designed
to be 30% lighter than their competitors'.
In 2008, Nike introduced the Air Jordan XX3, a high
performance basketball shoe designed with the environment
Nike sells an assortment of products, including
apparel for sports
activities like association football, basketball,
running, combat sports, tennis, American football,
athletics, golf and cross training for men, women,
and children. Nike also sells shoes for outdoor
activities such as tennis, golf, skateboarding,
association football, baseball, American football,
cycling, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading, aquatic
activities, auto racing and other athletic and recreational
uses. Nike is well known and popular in youth culture,
chav culture and hip hop culture as they supply
urban fashion clothing. Nike recently teamed up
with Apple Inc. to produce the Nike+ product which
monitors a runner's performance via a radio device
in the shoe which links to the iPod nano. While
the product generates useful statistics, it has
been criticized by researchers who were able to
identify users' RFID devices from 60 feet (18 m)
away using small, concealable intelligence motes
in a wireless sensor network.
In 2004, they launched the SPARQ Training Program/division.
It is currently the premier training program in
Some of Nike's newest shoes contain
Flywire and Lunarlite Foam. These are materials
used to reduce the weight of many types of shoes.
In the video game Gran Turismo 4 there is a car
by Nike called the NikeOne 2022, designed by Phil
Nike's world headquarters are surrounded by the
city of Beaverton, Oregon but are technically within
unincorporated Washington County.
This distinction, according to The Oregonian,
has been a source of contention between the city
of Beaverton and Nike since the company purchased
74 acres (0.3 km²) of nearby Beaverton land
that soon fronted the Jared Co-operation. When Nike
proposed expanding their headquarters in that direction,
Beaverton at first wanted them to build housing
near the MAX light rail station and criss-cross
the property with two public roads, expectations
defined by the zoning already in place when Nike
bought the land. Beaverton's request was mostly
consistent with Metro's transit-oriented development
plans for the region. After a year, which included
a threat by Nike to move 5,000 jobs out of the state,
Beaverton backed down from the requirement for housing,
but the lack of accommodation was something that
Nike did not forget.
The annexation standoff soon led Beaverton to attempt
a forcible annexation. That led to a lawsuit by
Nike, and lobbying by the company that ultimately
ended in Oregon Senate Bill 887 of 2005. Under that
bill's terms, Beaverton is specifically barred from
forcibly annexing the land that Nike and
occupy in unincorporated Washington County for 35
years, while Electro Scientific Industries and
Tektronix get that same protection for 30 years.
The world headquarters is situated on approximately
200 acres (0.81 km2) of land.
The first phase of construction was completed in
1990, followed by expansions in 1992, 1999, 2001
and 2008. There are 17 buildings, together providing
approximately 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2)
of office space. Each building is named for a legendary
coach or athlete who has had a long affiliation
with Nike, including Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong,
Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras, Joan Benoit
Samuelson, John McEnroe and several others.
Two of the buildings are child development centers,
named for Joe Paterno and C. Vivian Stringer, that
together provide daily child care for approximately
500 children of Nike employees. A man-made lake,
fed by a natural spring, covers 6 acres (24,000 m2)
and is adjacent to a protected wetland area that
runs through the center of the campus. The dirt
from the lake was deposited around the perimeter
of the grounds to create a 14-foot (4.3 m)
tall, sloping berm that helps create a campus-like
feel. Approximately 5,000 employees are based at
the world headquarters, with another 2,000-2,500
in additional buildings in office complexes nearby.
Nike has contracted with more than 700 shops around
the world and has offices located in 45 countries
outside the United States. Most of the factories
are located in Asia, including Indonesia, China,
Taiwan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, Philippines,and
Malaysia. Nike is hesitant to disclose information
about the contract companies it works with. However,
due to harsh criticism from some organizations like
CorpWatch, Nike has disclosed information about
its contract factories in its Corporate Governance
Human rights concerns
Nike has been criticized for contracting with factories
in countries such as China, Vietnam, Indonesia and
Mexico. Vietnam Labour Watch, an activist group,
has documented that factories contracted by Nike
have violated minimum wage and overtime laws in
Vietnam as late as 1996, although Nike claims that
this practice has been halted. The company has
been subject to much critical coverage of the often
poor working conditions and exploitation of cheap
overseas labor employed in the free trade zones
where their goods are typically manufactured. Sources
of this criticism include Naomi Klein's book No
Logo and Michael Moore's documentaries.
Nike has been criticized about ads which referred
to empowering women in the U.S. while engaging in
practices in East Asian factories which some felt
During the 1990s, Nike faced criticism for use of
child labor in
factories it contracted to manufacture soccer balls.
Although Nike took action to curb or at least reduce
the practice of child labor, they continue to contract
their production to companies that operate in areas
where inadequate regulation and monitoring make
it hard to ensure that child labor is not being
In 2001 a BBC documentary uncovered occurrences
of child labor and poor working conditions in a
Cambodian factory used by Nike. In the documentary,
six girls were focussed on, all of whom worked seven
days a week, often 16 hours a day.
A July 2008 investigation by Australian Channel
7 News found a large number of cases involving forced
labour in one of the biggest Nike apparel factories.
The factory located in Malaysia was filmed by an
undercover crew who found instances of squalid living
conditions and forced labour. Nike have since stated
that they will take corrective action to ensure
the continued abuse does not occur.
Following Liu Xiang's withdrawal from the 2008 Olympics,
Nike admitted seeking help from "relevant government
departments" in the Chinese government to track
down and identify an anonymous Internet poster.
The consistently growing
often negatively impacts the environment. Because
Nike is a large participant in this manufacturing,
many of their processes negatively contribute to
the environment. One way the expanding textile industry
affects the environment is by increasing its water
deficit, climate change, pollution, and fossil fuel
and raw material consumption. In addition to this,
today's electronic textile plants spend significant
amounts of energy, while also producing a throw-away
mindset due to trends founded upon fast fashion
and cheap clothing. Although these combined effects
can negatively alter the environment, Nike tries
to counteract their influence with different projects.
According to a New England-based environmental organisation
Clean Air-Cool Planet, Nike ranks among the top
3 companies (out of 56) on a survey conducted about
climate-friendly companies. Nike has also
been praised for its
Nike Grind programme (which closes the product
lifecycle) by groups like Climate Counts.
In addition to this, one campaign that Nike began
for Earth Day 2008 was a commercial that featured
Steve Nash wearing Nike's Trash Talk Shoe, a
shoe that had been constructed in February 2008
from pieces of leather and synthetic leather waste
that derived from the factory floor. The Trash Talk
Shoe also featured a sole composed of ground-up
rubber from a shoe recycling program. Nike claims
this is the first performance basketball shoe that
has been created from manufacturing waste, but it
only produced 5,000 pairs for sale. Another
project Nike has begun is called Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe
program. This program, started in 1993, is Nike's
longest-running program that benefits both the environment
and the community by collecting old athletic shoes
of any type in order to process and recycle them.
The material that is created from the recycled shoes
is then used to help create sports surfaces, such
as basketball courts, running tracks, and playgrounds.
Nike's marketing strategy is an
important component of the company's
success. Nike is positioned as a
premium-brand, selling well-designed
and expensive products. Nike lures
customers with a marketing strategy
centering around a brand image which
is attained by distinctive logo
and the advertising slogan: "Just
Nike promotes its products by sponsorship
agreements with celebrity athletes,
professional teams and college athletic
teams. However, Nike's marketing
mix contains many elements besides
promotion. These are summarised
From 1972 to 1982, Nike relied almost
exclusively on print advertising
in highly vertical publications
including Track and Field News.
Most of the early advertising was
focused on a new shoe release, essentially
outlining the benefits of the running,
basketball or tennis shoe. In 1976,
the company hired its first outside
ad agency, John Brown and Partners,
who created what many consider Nike's
first 'brand advertising' in 1977.
A print ad with the tagline "There
is no finish line" featured
a lone runner on a rural road and
became an instant classic. The success
of this simple ad inspired Nike
to create a poster version that
launched the company's poster business.
In 1982, Nike aired its first national
television ads, created by newly
formed ad agency
Wieden+Kennedy, during the New
York Marathon. This would mark the
beginning of a remarkably successful
partnership between Nike and W+K
that remains intact today. The Cannes
Advertising Festival has named Nike
its 'advertiser of the year' on
two separate occasions, the first
and only company to receive that
honor twice (1994, 2003).
Nike also has earned the Emmy Award
for best commercial twice since
the award was first created in the
1990s. The first was for "The
Morning After," a satirical
look at what a runner might face
on the morning of January 1, 2000
if every dire prediction about Y2K
came to fruition. The second
Emmy for advertising earned by Nike
was for a 2002 spot called "Move,"
which featured a series of famous
and everyday athletes in a stream
of athletic pursuits.
In addition to garnering awards,
Nike advertising has generated its
fair share of controversy:
Consumer activist Marc Kasky filed
a lawsuit in California in 2002
regarding newspaper advertisements
and several letters Nike distributed
in response to criticisms of labor
conditions in its factories. Kasky
claimed that the company made representations
that constituted false advertising.
Nike responded that the false advertising
laws did not cover the company's
expression of its views on a public
issue, and that these were entitled
to First Amendment protection. The
local court agreed with Nike's lawyers,
but the California Supreme Court
overturned this ruling, claiming
that the corporation's communications
were commercial speech and therefore
subject to false advertising laws.
The United States Supreme Court
agreed to review the case (Nike
v. Kasky) but sent the case back
to trial court without issuing a
substantive ruling on the constitutional
issues. The parties subsequently
settled out of court before any
finding on the accuracy of Nike's
statements, leaving the California
Supreme Court's denial of Nike's
immunity claim as precedent. The
case drew a great deal of attention
from groups concerned with civil
liberties, as well as anti-sweatshop
Nike was the focus of criticism
for its use of the Beatles song "Revolution"
in a 1987 commercial, against the
wishes of Apple Records, the Beatles'
recording company. Nike paid $250,000
to Capitol Records Inc., which held
the North American licensing rights
to the Beatles' recordings, for
the right to use the Beatles' rendition
for a year.
Apple sued Nike Inc., Capitol Records
EMI Records Inc. and
Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency
for $15 million. Capitol-EMI countered
by saying the lawsuit was 'groundless'
because Capitol had licensed the
use of "Revolution" with
the "active support and encouragement
of Yoko Ono Lennon, a shareholder
and director of Apple."
According to a November 9, 1989
article in the Los Angeles Daily
News, "a tangle of lawsuits
between the Beatles and their American
and British record companies has
been settled." One condition
of the out-of-court settlement was
that terms of the agreement would
be kept secret. The settlement was
reached among the three parties
involved: George Harrison, Paul
McCartney, Ringo Starr; Yoko Ono;
and Apple, EMI and Capitol Records.
A spokesman for Yoko Ono noted, "It's
such a confusing myriad of issues
that even people who have been close
to the principals have a difficult
time grasping it. Attorneys on both
sides of the Atlantic have probably
put their children through college
on this." Nike discontinued
airing ads featuring "Revolution"
in March 1988. Yoko Ono later gave
permission to Nike to use
John Lennon's "Instant
Karma" in another ad.
In late June 2005, Nike received
criticism from Ian MacKaye, owner
of Dischord Records, guitarist/vocalist
for Fugazi & The Evens, and
front-man of defunct punk band Minor
Threat, for appropriating imagery
and text from Minor Threat's 1981
self-titled album's cover art in
a flyer promoting
Nike Skateboarding's 2005 East
Coast demo tour.
On June 27, Nike Skateboarding's
website issued an apology to Dischord,
Minor Threat, and fans of both and
announced that they tried to remove
and dispose of all flyers. They
state that the people who designed
it were skateboarders and Minor
Threat fans themselves who created
the ad out of respect and appreciation
for the band. The dispute was eventually
settled out of court between Nike &
Minor Threat. The exact details
of the settlement have never been
In this ad, a parody of horror films,
Olympic runner Suzy Favor-Hamilton
is running a bath in a remote wilderness
cabin when a chainsaw-wielding masked
killer appears. Hamilton is obviously
in much better shape than the would-be
killer and, thanks to her Nike gear,
sprints away. The final shot shows
the killer out of breath, limping
away and ends with the tagline, "Why
Sport?" which is quickly answered
with "You'll live longer."
First aired during the opening ceremony
of the 2000 Summer Olympics (Friday),
the ad titled "Horror"
generated roughly 200 complaints
(according to NBC) that caused the
network to pull the ad by Sunday.
ESPN followed suit, but the ad continued
to air with little or no controversy
on several other networks, including
FOX, WB, UPN and Comedy Central.
Protesters argued that the ad made
light of violence against women,
while others claimed it was just
too scary to watch, especially for
children who enjoy watching the
Olympics. Nike spokespeople retorted
it was meant to be humorous, and
to satirize the typical horror flick
where a helpless woman was destined
to be slashed. Hamilton herself
stated the ad was inspirational,
since it is the woman who defeats
In 2004, an ad about LeBron James
beating cartoon martial arts masters
and slaying a Chinese dragon in
martial arts offended Chinese authorities,
who called the ad blasphemous and
insulting to national dignity and
the dragon. The ad was later banned
in China. In early 2007 the ad was
re-instated in China for unknown
In the run up to the 2006 U.S. Open,
Nike began running Pretty, a television
advertisement featuring Maria Sharapova.
The ad was a popular and critical
success, and went on to win several
of the industry's top awards, including
two Cannes Gold Lions.
Nike sells its product to more than
25,000 retailers in the U.S. (including
Nike's own outlets and "Niketown"
stores) and in approximately 160
countries in the world. The company
also has a program called NIKEiD
at nikeid.com, which allows customers
to customize designs of some styles
of Nike shoes and deliver them directly
from manufacturer to the consumer.
Nike sells its products in international
markets through independent distributors,
licensees, and subsidiaries.
Nike pays top athletes in many different
sports to use their products and
promote/advertise their technology
Nike's first professional athlete
endorser was Romanian tennis player
Ilie Năstase, and the company's
first track endorser was distance
running legend Steve Prefontaine.
Prefontaine was the prized pupil
of the company's co-founder Bill
Bowerman while he coached at the
University of Oregon. Today, the
Steve Prefontaine Building is named
in his honor at Nike's corporate
Besides Prefontaine, Nike has sponsored
many other successful track &
field athletes over the years such
as Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee
and Sebastian Coe. However, it was
the signing of basketball player
Michael Jordan in 1984, with his
subsequent promotion of Nike over
the course of his storied career
with Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon,
that proved to be one of the biggest
boosts to Nike's publicity and sales.
During the past 20 years especially,
Nike has been one of the major clothing/footwear
sponsors for leading tennis players.
Some of the more successful tennis
players currently or formerly sponsored
by Nike include: James Blake, Jim
Courier, Roger Federer, Lleyton
Hewitt, Juan Martín del Potro, Andre
Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras,
Marion Bartoli, Lindsay Davenport,
Daniela Hantuchová, Mary Pierce,
Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams.
Nike is also the official kit sponsor
for the Indian cricket team for
5 years, from 2006 till end of 2010.
by bidding highest (US$43 Million
Nike also sponsors some of the leading
clubs in world football, such as
Manchester United, Arsenal, FC Barcelona,
Inter Milan, Juventus, Shakhtar,
Porto, Steaua, Borussia Dortmund,
Red Star, Aston Villa, Celtic and
PSV Eindhoven. Nike will also sponsor
Dundee United from summer 2009.
Nike sponsors several of the world's top golf players, including Tiger Woods,
Trevor Immelman and Paul Casey.
Nike also sponsors various minor
events including Hoop It Up (high
school basketball) and The Golden
West Invitational (high school track
and field). Nike uses web sites
as a promotional tool to cover these
events. Nike also has several websites
for individual sports, including
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