Nike set to make a comeback in Cricket as they become the official partner for the Big Bash League. The deal will see Nike manufacture all kits for the men’s and women’s teams for the 2021/22 season. This is the first instance where Nike has taken up an entire League-wide operation. The American sportswear brand takes over the design and production of all kits from another US manufacturer, Majestic, a subsidiary of sports merchandise giant Fanatics.
Cricket Australia declared that the Nike-BBL apparel range details will be released in October ahead of the 2021/22 season getting underway later this year. Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australian head of the Big Bash Leagues, described the deal as a “major milestone moment” in the history of the tournament.
“Over the past decade, the Big Bash Leagues have connected a new generation of fans with cricket. As the leagues enter their second decade, this partnership with Nike looks to inspire the next generation of athletes and fans both on and off the field.”
Nike’s general manager for the Pacific region, Ashley Reade also admitted that BBL aligns with the company’s values focussing on innovation, diversity, sustainability, and community impact.
The American sportswear brand joins a portfolio of BBL partners that also includes the likes of KFC, Rebel, Toyota, and BKT Tires, among others. This looks to be another typical move from Nike as they cautiously try and understand the impact of sponsorship in cricket and it will be a good way to see if BBL merchandise sales spike because of their brand image outside of cricket.
Nike has always been the most iconic and far-reaching brand in the world of sport. One sport where Nike has not made their presence felt is Cricket. Nike had a five-year deal with the Indian cricket team during which they paid Rs 370 crore from 2016 to 2020, which included a royalty worth Rs 30 crore. Nike’s exit from the world of Cricket sponsorship did come as a big shock to everyone, especially the Indian support. In the past couple of years, Nike has been focusing on younger talent in football instead of extending deals with older stars. It will be intriguing to see whether they adopt a similar approach in cricket and sign deals with promising leagues, players instead of negotiating contracts with high profile players and organisations.