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Nike Inc. (pronounced 'nye-kee') derives its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. As a leading American manufacturer of athletic apparels, shoes, and sports gear, the company markets and sells its products under its own brand name -- Nike -- as well as Nike Pro, Nike Golf, Team Starter and Air Jordan. Other subsidiaries include Bauer, Converse, Hurley International and Cole Haan. Nike is the largest and most popular sportswear supplier worldwide.


Long before the swoosh logo and the birth of Nike, there was Blue Ribbon Sports. BRS was the company Phil Knight, Nike founder, and legendary track coach Bill Bowerman created in 1964 to provide athletes with better footwear. It wasn’t until 1971 that BRS introduced the concept of the winged Goddess, Nike. In December 1980, the company went public and the rest is history.

Since then the company has grown to a leading world manufacturer of athletic gear, footwear and apparel. In the U.S. alone, Nike products are sold through more than 20,000 retail accounts. Globally, the company's products are sold in more than 110 countries through retail stores including Nike Towns and Nike factory outlets. Most items are manufactured by independent service providers overseas with Nike orchestrating the design, development and marketing of these items. The company constantly strives to explore unique and functional trends to stimulate commercial growth in both U.S. and foreign markets.


Nike produces of a wide array of sports gear and apparel. Among the first products were running and basketball shoes. Currently, they make jerseys for different sporting activities including track & field, baseball, football, tennis, lacrosse, soccer, golf and cricket. Recent additions to their line of products are Nike SB and Nike 6.0 footwear specially designed for skateboarding. Nike sells shoes for road running, soccer, basketball, athletics, American football, and cross training for men, women, and children. Nike also sells gear for outdoor sports such as tennis, baseball, golf, soccer, football, volleyball, bicycling, wrestling, aquatic games, cheer leading and multi-sport uses. They also hold Bauer brand athletic gear and Cole Haan dress and casual footwear brands.

Recently added to their footwear lines are cricket shoes called Air Zoom Yorker, introduced and designed to be almost thirty percent lighter than their competitors. Nike recently teamed up with Apple Inc. to produce the Nike+ products that actually check a runner's performance through a radio device attaching the shoe to the iPod nano.

Most of the Nike’s products are designed to appeal to a young and trendsetting crowd. They are market-positioned as a brand of premium performance. However, the company also manufactures shoes for discount stores such as Wal-Mart, offering the brand Starter.

Manufacturing and Distribution

Nike has more than five hundred factories worldwide with offices in forty five countries outside of the U.S. Most of the factories are located in Asia including Taiwan, China, India, Thailand, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Philippines, Korea and Malaysia.

The company sells its products to more than 20,000 retailers in the U.S. with international distribution to 110 countries. Nike sells its product lines to international markets through independent distributors, subsidiaries and licensees.

Competitors and Rivals

Since Nike manufactures goods for such a wide spectrum of sporting gear and apparel, they experience competition on many levels from every associated fashion brand. In the beginning, Nike had no real competitors. In the early 1980s, Reebok entered the market. Today, Reebok has canceled merchandising agreements with the National Hockey League and the National Football League in the US. Reebok was purchased by Adidas in 2006.

Marketing Policy

Nike's marketing policy remains an important part of the company's huge success, marketing its premium-brand as a quality-designed, luxurious item. The marketing strategy involves brand recognition through the unique logo and advertising slogan, “just do it”. It promotes Nike products through sponsorship agreements and contracts with celebrity sports personalities, professional teams and college athletes. Due to extensive advertising and sponsorship programs, Nike’s products are often priced higher than that of its competitors.


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