© Reuters. 2019 World Gymnastics World Championship
By Uday Sampath Kumar and Richa Naidu
4-time Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles has signed with Gap Inc (NYSE 🙂 Athleta brand for a new apparel partnership, which closes a contract spanning nearly six year with Nike Inc (NYSE :).
Biles, the most beautifully decorated gymnast in world championship history at the age of 24, said in an Instagram post on Friday that she wanted to work with a brand that shares “a passion that helps. Girls rise and possess their limitless potential. “
“They are committed to diversity and inclusion, which is really important for me to see in a partner,” she said.
The move was a blow to Nike, which has been trying for many years with mixed success to expand the lucrative market for women’s sportswear, launch a range of yoga, plus-size and fitness products. for pregnant women.
Michael Faherty, portfolio manager at Adidas (OTC 🙂 and Nike investor Seilern Investment Management, said: “What Nike sells – or at least makes money below low – has in the past been female shirt. “You just need to take a look at Lululemon to see the massive growth they’ve been able to make in the women’s clothing space.”
When competing with Lululemon and Under Armor (NYSE :), Nike spent millions to nurture relationships with Biles and other major athletes, including Serena Williams (NYSE 🙂 and Naomi Osaka. These deals have helped Nike’s women’s apparel sales growth outperform other brands over the past eight quarters.
“We will continue to win and welcome all athletes,” Nike said in a statement, confirming their contract with Biles was over and wishing her “the best.”
Athleta, founded in 1998 as a brand for female athletes, says it plans to co-create a dynamic line of outfits with Biles and design other signature products.
The brand has also pledged to support Biles’s post-Tokyo gymnastics tour where she is planning to engage herself, instead of the usual tour supported by the governing body. USA Gymnastics, at https://www.wsj.com/articles/simone- biles-gymnastics-nike-sportsleta-11619140549? mod = last_headlines for Wall Street Journal.
She wasn’t the first Nike sponsored athlete to join Athleta. In 2019, six-time Olympic champion Allyson Felix signed up with the Gap-owned brand after writing an article in the New York Times in which she said she faced a wage cut. from sponsors including Nike for having children.
Nike subsequently pledged not to finance pregnant athletes with financial penalties. The company has also made a name for itself when it comes to taking a stand on social issues, fighting racial injustice and showing solidarity with a number of protest athletes.
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