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Marketing and branding, qualitative vs quantitative, KPIs, A to B testing, marketing is only “cool” when the final Nike is viewed. Too often marketing by sportswear brands feels “either/or”. Either a brand is all in on fashion and influencers or they create a slogan and reinforce it through the year. In both instances the expenses pile up for an important aspect of business that is often immeasurable outside of views and likes.

When athletes and influencers are paid millions, brands will spend more to make sure the content created is seen. When a slogan is created brands place ad revenue behind the dollars already spent. Sonny Vaccaro created the foundation of the best marketing tool for sneaker companies, “make the young athletes the messengers.” This weekend New Balance, adidas, Nike and Brooks delivered incredible events for track and field. Only one of these brands (kind of) controlled the content and delivered the most important marketing strategy for the expansive nature of track meets, New Balance.

YouTube and Sports Viewership

YouTube is the most viewed streaming service behind Netflix. Read that sentence again. As viewers cut the cord and add streaming services from Apple to Disney and Hulu, YouTube ranks as the biggest competitor to the powerhouse of Netflix. Nike has understood this aspect of marketing. The brand has 1.91 million subscribers on YouTube. To stay in line with the discussion on youth track and field and this weekend, adidas has 1.29 million subscribers. New Balance rings up 3rd in this field with 174,000 and Brooks has 23.9K.

Out of the four brands delivering outdoor youth track and field events this weekend, only New Balance has created the all-important digital chunk. A year ago, I discussed the importance of digital viewership to brand strategy:

Track and Field Could Be the Next Driver of Sportswear | Part 2: Digital Viewership, Increased Visibility and Underutilization

New Balance utilized an aspect of the playbook very well. As of this morning 6/17/2024 they have posted 38 videos to their New Balance YT page. The best performing video so far is the 800m Relay posted above. It’s at 25,000+ views. The other videos combine for a total of 192,619 views as of this moment. Those are organic views where the brand hasn’t placed a Google Ad behind the content to drive viewership. By comparison We Got Now | 2024 | New Balance Hoops

The almost 200K in “digital chunk” views is more than adidas’ recent ATLANTA CITY GAMES 2024 | LIVE | adidas which has

14.41s, a Briefcase and an adidas F1 Inspired Suit: Can Noah Lyles Make Track and Field a Vibe?

In looking at the marketing aspect of the National Outdoor events hosted by each brand, Brooks gave their viewership, potential subscribers and marketing over to Runnerspace. adidas and Nike did the same, but one million+ subscribers on both adidas and Nike’s YouTube accounts means their marketing teams may not feel pressed, Brooks’ team should… all three brands should feel pressed right? Not Nike.

Runnerspace was created by Nike marketing. It’s unclear of whether the brand still owns the site, but for adidas and Brooks to grant such valuable, evergreen content to a possibly Nike-owned media outlet shows a breakdown in strategy.

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The Livestream of the New Balance Nationals during each day of the event garnered 301,000 views this weekend. The ATL Games by adidas sits at 71,000. Livestreams trail off in viewership after the event has ended, but digital chunks exist forever. Sonny V worked with Nike when the young athlete as messenger became just as vital as any marketing strategy created. This rings true still and New Balance read the memo.

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