Sports and rap have never been so intertwined as it is today but when did sports company’s like Nike and Adidas start promoting their products through people who are no way affiliated with any sports or sports teams?
“Checks over stripes”. The famous lyric by Travis Scott on his hit song Sicko Mode sent rap fans crazy with this line promoting the Nike swoosh over the three stripes of Adidas creating a an almost tribal feel between the brands.
The Jordan brand is a major part of nike which specialises in basketball apparel, with huge stars like Russel Westbrook and Zion Williamson signing deals with Jordan to wear the Jordan brand Basketball sneakers during games, Nike have the opportunity to massively boost sales with fans of the Jordan brand and fans of the players all wanting to purchase the sneakers.
“Nike’s Jordan revenues were $2.8 billion for the fiscal year ending May 2016” (GQ, 2019). With this being a major success Nike have sized on an invaluable asset by signing with rapper Travis Scott. This allows nike the opportunity to expand their target audience to fans of the rap mogul, Travis Scott can be seen as an influencer just as how the sports star Russel Westbrook dons the famous Jordan shoes during an NBA game. The rapper wears his own version of the original Jordan 1 Sneakers during his tours and live performances.
This isn’t the first time Music and sports have collaborated, RUN DMC with their $1 Million Dollar endorsement deal with Adidas was a catalyst for people like Travis Scott, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams to collaborate with the biggest sports brands in the world. “Anastasio realised the power of hip-hop marketing and was quick to sign Run-D.M.C to a $1 million endorsement deal, which also included their own signature line.” (Stop the breaks, 2019).
With Travis Scott, Nike have taken Adidas’s idea and ran with it rebranding themselves particularly with Sneakers, with Travis Scott they can connect to his rap fans Marketing their Products through the artist, as well as making exclusive sneakers such as the Cactus Jack Jordan 4’s tapping into the passion of the fans to increase sales through there promotion of the Sneakers.
Travis Scott’s Partnership with Nike has seen incredible numbers in terms of sales figures, Retailing at $175 a pair with Resale Value soaring to over $1000 Dollars (stockx, 2019), the price can be seen as expensive however it seems to be worth it in the eyes of the fans, Nike used a key element of the marketing mix, Experience. One of the ways Nike promoted this product was through an online raffle with a £5 entry and if selected give you the opportunity to purchase the sneaker, giving the winner a sense of elitism with only 5 out of the hundreds of people entering.
However, is it a case of the cult following that Travis has amassed or is it Nike targeting a huge star in an attempt to rebrand itself and attract a larger audience? Either way it’s a mutually beneficial situation for both the rapper and Nike with increased profitability and increased popularity.