Nike CEO: Bullish on Apple relationship; Durant wasn't leaving; NFL moving in right direction.
In an interview with Bloomberg's Stephanie Ruhle, Nike CEO Mark Parker said:
- I'm 'quite bullish on our relationship with Apple.'
- Nike plans to work with Apple to 'expand the whole digital frontier in terms of wearables.'
- Wearables that will succeed will be ' more stealth, more integrated, more stylish and more function.'
- He was 'confident' in Nike's relationship with Kevin Durant and is 'even more confident in what's possible.'
- 'Never say never' to LeBron beating Michael Jordan in sales
- Monitoring what is going on with Hope Solo and will 'make our judgment when time is right.'
- We've been working with female athletes for over 40 years (way before Under Armour)
- "We make our position known with the NFL that we don't tolerate any sort of domestic violence, child abuse."
- Optimistic that the NFL is 'moving in a better direction.'
- We're not looking at Reebok, happy with what we currently have.- We’re not fixated on getting in the second-hand market.
**CREDIT: BLOOMBERG TELEVISION INTERVIEW WITH STEPHANIE RUHLE**
On whether Nike was second to Under Armour marketing to the female athlete:
"Well we've been working with female athletes for 40 years, over 40 years. And you saw it today. We had 27 amazing athletes covering a whole range of sports. So women's sports and health and fitness is not new to Nike. And it happens to be one of the most vibrant and fast-growing parts of our business. So we're incredibly excited about where we are, and more importantly where it's going."
On whether Nike is a tech company:
"Social is everywhere. So everybody connects with each other socially, all the different platforms. And obviously Nike is no different. So we created platforms or we work with different platforms that connect with, as you said, 65 million women. We also have women signed up with Nike+, Nike+ Running, the Nike+ Training Club. Apps, health and fitness and sports app happen to be the fastest-growing app category out there, growing 85 percent, more than any other app. So Nike is part and parcel to all of that. And that's really a part of our future."
On whether the female customer factored into their decision to sever ties with Ray Rice:
"Well women athletes have always been important to Nike. I think what's happening now is that sport and fitness is actually becoming more a part of everyday lifestyle. And it's really permeating every aspect of culture and society. This isn't a trend. It's a movement. It's a cultural shift really in a way. Yes, so we have a very close relationship with obviously the world's best athletes, but women in general. And that's really where the insights that we drive our innovation come from. "
On whether Nike can help change the NFL culture:
"Yes. Well obviously recent incidents that we've all heard about and talked about are very troubling for everybody, not just in terms of sports, but society. And we've made our position known with the NFL that we don't tolerate any sort of domestic violence, child abuse. That's really important. I see the Commissioner Goodell really responding. He's - I think this has been a great lesson for the NFL. He's acknowledged that. He's moving forward. They're making some changes. And I'm optimistic that they're moving in a better direction."
On not severing ties with or making a statement with regards to Hope Solo:
"Well we keep close with current situations. And we assess based on the knowledge that we have. So we'll keep close ties with what's going on in that situation and then make our judgment when the time is right."
On whether he sees himself looking to buy the Reebok brand because of their Crossfit connection:
"Well you know what? I'm happy with the opportunities Nike has as a brand, and our other brands in the portfolio. We've got Nike, Jordan, Hurley, Converse, ample opportunity for growth. And that's where our focus is. "
On whether LeBron could outsell Jordan:
"MJ is a tough act to follow in that sense, but I never say never. It's amazing the business that has - we've established around Michael Jordan, around his legend and legacy. I've been there since day one when we introduced the first Jordan shoe. And to see what's happened with that brand and with Michael, he's the athlete other athletes love. He's the one that when he walks in a room everybody's jaw drops. They're in awe of him. It's really interesting to watch that."
On Kevin Durant's $300 Million deal:
"We don't say it's nothing. But Kevin Durant is an amazing athlete, obviously on the court and off the court. We're all big KD fans and he's somebody that we think that there's a great future with, with basketball and beyond. So -"
On whether there was really ever a chance Nike would lose Kevin Durant:
"Well I can't really say, speak to that period of time, other than to say that we were focused on what we do best. We've had a great relationship with Kevin. Kevin is a big Nike fan, not just because we've had a contract with him, but because of all the things that we've done with him on and off the court. So we're confident in our relationship, and even more confident in what's possible coming. "
On whether he is open to a Nike secondhand story platform:
"Well I don't think we're really fixated or focused on trying to capture that secondary market. I think that's always going to happen when you have a popular brand. When products sell out quickly you're going to create another market. Are there some things we could do to take advantage of that? Possibly. We're looking at that, but that really hasn't been our fixation and focus. It's really to create the best product we can and then, as we say, let the consumer decide."
On working with Apple:
"I'm actually quite bullish on our relationship with Apple. As you know, Tim Cook is on the Nike board. We're - we've worked - I worked with Steve Jobs a long time ago when we introduced the Nike+ for the very first time. So as I look ahead and what's possible between Nike and Apple, two as you said amazing brands. Technologically we can do things together that we couldn't do independently. So, yes, that's part of our plan is to expand the whole digital frontier in terms of wearables, and go from what we say is tens of millions of users. Right now there's 25 million Nike+ users, but to hundreds of millions."
On whether wearables are the future:
"I think it's going to be a big part of the future, absolutely. I think and what form it takes is the big question, but I think people getting more information in a simple user-friendly way, and getting feedback that helps them understand themselves better is a way to improve yourself, and I think connect with other people to keep pace with what's going on in the world. So I think wearables - I think the form it takes is what's critical. You can go from very geeky kind of wearables today. We've seen, all seen some of those, to I think what you'll see in the future are things that are more stealth, more integrated, more stylish and more functional, yes."