Sunday, July 4, 2010

"And I'd Like To Thank 'Nike Squash' for All Their Support!"

The finals of Wimbledon have just been played and Spain's incomparable Rafael Nadal has, somewhat predictably, beaten Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. But I thought Berdych played damn well, and the difference between winner and loser came down to Nadal converting his chances at break points, while Berdych, though having those chances, never was able to do so. Thus game, set, match to Mr. Nadal.

One thing I noticed in the final was the Nike swoosh that appeared on both players. Berdych was wearing a cap with a black swoosh, Nadal a form-fitting bandana with a blood-red swoosh. Every time the TV camera focused on either player, there was the firm's well-known logo. They had a guaranteed 3 hours at least of uninterrupted TV airtime. Nike, the sports giant, was going to be a winner no matter what happened on the court today.... 

Nike is an international phenomenon, with its tentacles in all kinds of sports in all kinds of places. All over the world. So it continues to baffle me why a company like Nike would overlook the demonstrably international sport of squash. 

Squash has wide appeal -- as demonstrated by the fact that the sport is played in about 190 countries -- but does not have the penetration in individual countries to attract their attention. Apparently.

But times are tough, and Nike managers must sit around their conference room table thinking of ways to increase sales worldwide. They must! If there ever were a fat target for them to go for, it would be for a relatively under-served sport like squash that needs a corporate champion to take it to the next level. Nike could sell hundreds of thousands of Nike-emblazoned apparel, shoes, and those hats that Nadal and Berdych wore during today's final, and the sport of squash would finally have its first big-time corporate sponsor. Everybody wins. 

Thank you, Nike Squash, thank you so much!

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