Nike Unveils 14 National Kits in Women's World Cup Push
Nike Inc unveiled soccer strips on Monday for 14 national teams ahead of this year’s Women’s World Cup in France and said it had signed a three-year promotion deal with UEFA Women’s Football, part of its growing focus on women’s sport.
The United States, Canada, France, England and Australia were among the teams whose kits were released at an event in Paris, graced by 28 of the world’s top women footballers.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, champion fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad and two-time Grand Slam winner Li Na also attended.
The Women’s World Cup will be held from June 7 to July 7.
We’re seeing incredible momentum in women’s sports right now,” Nike official Amy Montagne told Reuters ahead of the launch. “We see this as the next chapter to support, celebrate and elevate female athletes.”
In addition to new team uniform, the retail giant announced innovation across the womenswear category, launching new products such as a high-tech sports bra and World Cup-inspired apparel.
The company declined to give financial terms of the deal with European governing body UEFA, or the value of the individual national kit sponsorship deals.
"I think right now there is just incredible momentum in women's sports and we are excited to support and inspire this next generation of female athletes heading into this World Cup," Amy Montagne, Nike's vice president of global categories, told Business Insider.
Both, however, are the latest sign of the growing financial power of women’s sport for sports goods makers like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.
In the second quarter of the 2019 financial year, women’s footwear and apparel alone counted for nearly a quarter of Nike’s total revenue and it has said the women’s footwear and apparel market is now 1.5 times bigger than that for men.
Unveiling 14 national team collections for the Women's World Cup in France today, Nike announced partnerships meant to expand female access to sport: a 3-year deal with UEFA Women’s Football and deals with the WNBA, FIBA, Chinese Basketball Association and 200 U.S. universities pic.twitter.com/mmxrapynDN— Alicia Jessop (@RulingSports) March 11, 2019
Wall Street brokerage Bernstein calculates women’s sporting gear pulled in $7 billion for Nike last year.
As a part of the partnership with UEFA, Nike will supply the match ball for exclusive use in women’s competitions including the Women’s Champions League, Women’s Euro and junior tournaments.
Nadine Kessler, UEFA’s head of women’s football said the partnership across competitions and campaigns sends “a powerful message that the game is now being judged and supported on its own merits, it underlines also its important milestones beyond the field of play.”
Nike’s announcement of a partnership with UEFA comes three months after Visa signed a seven-year deal with European soccer’s governing body to sponsor the women’s game at all levels.
It also comes at a time when UEFA plans to increase its funding for women’s soccer development projects across Europe by 50 percent from 2020.
Global governing body FIFA, which has made women’s football a top priority, last year said it would look to double the number of female players to 60 million by 2026.
It also said it would raise the prize money for this year’s World Cup from $15 million to $30 million.
Nike said it would also invest at the grassroots level to encourage more female athletes.
“We believe this summer can be another turning point for the growth of women’s football,” Nike’s chief executive Mark Parker said in a statement.
Here are the kits they will be wearing:
France will wear the tricolore: bleu jersey, blanc shorts, rouge shorts. Away kit honors the hexagon-shaped country with a hexadot pattern. Rose gold details on both kits. pic.twitter.com/Jh0gszBYx9— Heidi Burgett (@heidiburgett) March 11, 2019
England’s kit features a custom hand-drawn print highlighting specific flora native to the country’s counties. Dark red crush hue is exclusive to the Lionesses. pic.twitter.com/6gLSbHGLrT— Heidi Burgett (@heidiburgett) March 11, 2019
Norway’s new home jersey features a pattern borrowed from traditional Norwegian ski sweaters. pic.twitter.com/2K7diPoLH3— Heidi Burgett (@heidiburgett) March 11, 2019
The Matildas kit channels Melbourne’s street art scene. The golden wattle and shots of the Australian landscape coalesce in the graphic to encapsulate contemporary Australia. pic.twitter.com/NN1iw56IBT— Heidi Burgett (@heidiburgett) March 11, 2019
For Brazil, the Seleçåo Feminina's away kit’s inspired by the constellation of stars in homage to the Brazilian indigenous warriors who by legend turned to stars. pic.twitter.com/bQZmsUKkWc— Heidi Burgett (@heidiburgett) March 11, 2019
The Netherlands will have a retro Oranje vibe, but with a contemporary graphic of the country’s famed tulip. The Leeuwinnen also don a lioness crest that distinguishes the reigning European champs from their male counterparts. pic.twitter.com/u41Fi0WnbF— Heidi Burgett (@heidiburgett) March 11, 2019
China’s Steel Roses will have an all-over phoenix print on their grey jerseys with hyper crimson accents. pic.twitter.com/FVVxzkNKk2— Heidi Burgett (@heidiburgett) March 11, 2019
Nigeria have qualified for every @FIFAWWC tournament since 1991. The home kit is a subtle tribute to the men's '94 kit. They'll look to better their greatest ever performance in 1999 by going further than the quarterfinals. pic.twitter.com/ii9C4U3Uni— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) March 11, 2019
Chile have made it to their first ever @FIFAWWC finals. Their kit features the Andean Condor, while they have a custom typeface that pays homage to the street signs of Santiago and Chilean car number plates. pic.twitter.com/gCLYm0jLJN— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) March 11, 2019
New Zealand Football is one of the only associations in the world to give it's men and women teams pay parity across the board.The Football Ferns will wear the Māori silver fern into their fourth consecutive tournament this summer. pic.twitter.com/ELmcYZRNmg— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) March 11, 2019
Best Women's World Cup kit: Australia by a mile pic.twitter.com/5sW85cyffX— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 11, 2019
With Inputs from Reuters