What if Puma had a Focused Strategy in the U.S.? | Yaroslava Mahuchikh breaks World Record in High Jump 

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I’ve written on several occasions that Puma absolutely rules the high jump and now Puma sponsored Ukranian jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh has really elevated the game. Her performance this weekend in the Diamond League smashed a 37-year-old record.

High Jump isn’t really a focus point in track and field although it has all of the elements to make it the most television ready event. Unlike the sprints High Jump can go on for two hours giving the event the ability to be segmented for ad revenue and the story telling for the athletes can be woven through the event.

Puma has a unique opportunity to expand the sport internationally, but Puma also has an opportunity to truly develop a strategy which could endear it to a new demographic completely controlled by the Swoosh. During this year’s track and field season for high school and travel, it was clear that Nike holds the hearts of athletes who participate in the sport.

The Maxfly sprint spike was everywhere. What’s interesting is that some of the fastest people in the world, and obviously the highest-flying athletes, wear Puma. Over the course of a 7-month season I can count on both hands how many Puma running shoes and spikes I saw. Puma has a rich legacy and history in sport performance, but the brand feels disconnected from the U.S. in almost every sport. Track maybe niche but it could be a pathway to reach a new audience.

While the company has locations in Portland and on the East Coast, they have zero presence in the south. They attempted to shape culture by hiring Jay-Z, but Jay-Z isn’t a trendsetter. The south controls the fashion and trends and the fastest athletes in the U.S. tend to come from the southern states. What if Puma expanded grassroots in this region? What if after the Olympics they placed a real emphasis on training at the grassroots level?

Do you think a focus on a niche sport could open doors for the Cat?

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