Why Isn’t Nike Pushing the Limits on Jerseys?

As the largest manufacturer of sporting goods the world over Nike has continued to land contract after contract with top-tier professional soccer clubs. This at first was exciting, given Nike’s tenacity for great marketing and aggressive styles and colorways. The thought of Nike being in charge of your favorite club’s jersey let the imagination run wild with how they were going to revitalize the jerseys of clubs like A.S. Roma, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain.

Turns out, they’re happy cashing in on the bare minimum.

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Scrape the crest off this 16/17 Roma Jersey and it’s indistinguishable from a generic.

That’s right apparently the coolest improvement Nike can muster is to give the jersey one consistent color and a little accent stripe. And this is AS Roma, the club that has a crest featuring a she-wolf breast feeding two human babies. For a club that pays tribute to the mythical legend of Romulus, founder of Rome– saved and raised by a she-wolf, on its crest you’d think that Nike would give their kit some teeth.

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Seriously, look up the myth of Romulus, that’s where this crest comes from.

But maybe Nike was just having a sort of relaxed day, like casual Friday when that jersey was designed. Or maybe it’s just because overall AS Roma doesn’t have quite the following in Nike’s market as other teams, right?

Nah, they played it safe across the board. Like 3 seatbelts, two hall monitors, and one full padded body-suit safe. Manchester City got the same doldrum design.

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Could there be less effort to make the 17/18 kits stand out?

It’s hard to believe with so much open road for innovation in front of them that Nike would come out of the gate with such lackluster designs. It provides two signs of foreboding, some of which aren’t new for the giant: 1) Nike has become so large that it’s design consistency has suffered and taken a back seat. 2) With so much success Nike has as a company become lazy.

It would be easy to write off these signs as mere speculation, if laziness and sloppy presentation wasn’t the reason that Nike already lost a major endorsement deal in the form of Steph Curry to Under Armour.

Nike is falling into a pattern of remixing and re-issuing the same general colors and designs, but calling them a brand new product every time and increasing the price point as much as possible. There’s a reason the new PSG jersey looks familiar.

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It’s the same basic design as Nike’s USA away jersey though instead of striped sleeves they are solid and they threw a solid stripe down the middle. It’s by far the most ‘detailed’ of the bunch, but that’s like saying a paper with a stripe down it is much more detailed than a blank page.

And while Nike might be able to get away with this ‘copy and paste’ for now. Other manufacturer’s are bringing the heat when it comes to jersey design in 2017 and 2018. Adidas has released an eye-catching Manchester United Away kit already, while New Balance released one of the most creative Liverpool jersey designs we’ve seen in years.

If Nike doesn’t step up, it won’t be long until these clubs are asking them to step out.

 

*The opinion of this piece is that of the writer and no other entity, organization, or business. Often honest opinions will smart feelings. The writer hopes that Nike does better from his observation, not that they fail or get wrapped up in their feelings.

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