Over the past year, I have noticed the growing trend of large sports brands launching community-based initiatives around New York City. This is probably nothing new for New York, but the creativity and the geographical concentration of these efforts are pretty interesting. The two most obvious and eye-catching examples of this are the Nike Bowery Stadium and the adidas sponsored Chinatown Soccer Club, which are both located in the Lower East Side, a major creative hub of young Manhattanites. Although these projects don’t have the same scale and scope, they are both are innovative and successful approaches to tapping into the taste-maker class within one of the World’s most influential cities. The Nike Bowery Stadium, which opened late May 2010, was hot spot for downtown World Cup action, hosting viewing parties for every game. Beyond the World Cup, the Nike Bowery Stadium hosted the party for official New York launch of PRod’s new Nike line, and was a go-to destination for epic recent sporting events like “The Decision” broadcast and events around the New York-based World Basketball Festival. We have no doubt that the Nike Bowery Stadium will continue to host and entertain good things.
With the sponsorship of the Chinatown Soccer Club, adidas tapped into a handful of select individuals that make up an elite creative class in New York. Although the sponsorship did not have the same impression numbers as the Nike Bowery Stadium, adidas definitely reinforced its ‘coolness’ factor through its association with the team, while building brand loyalty among the team members- who happen to be well-known individuals in the creative, entertainment, and media industries. In addition to an insanely cool website, clubhouse, and shoe collaboration all courtesy of adidas, the Chinatown Soccer Club has also had an issue of Arkitip dedicated them and a collaboration with the urban bag company Incase.
Brands like Nike and adidas have evolved from sports brands to culture brands. If they have not already launched them, we expect to see similar community-based initiatives from brands like Converse and Puma focused on similar geographical and professional demographics.
Check out the Nike Bowery Stadium website here
Check out the Chinatown Soccer Club Website here