A little over a year ago the snowboarding world was told Nike would be pulling out. As always there was shock, amazement, and then those that just didn’t notice and now seem lost when they wander into a snowboard shop looking for a set of Zoom Forces. When they left I predicted snowboarding would move on without them and it did.
Those that had contracts that needed to be honored are being taken care of, while those whose contracts are over (most noticeably Halldor Helgason) have been vocal about the situation. Through the dissolution of the team we’ve seen various riders branch out to other brands. Scotty Lago who not only lost Nike but his board sponsor was able to roll over his payments into starting the new Lago Snowboards.
The Video Projects:
Sage Kotsenburg is still filming and proving that he’s more than a contest rider. His most recent full part is noticeably devoid of a Nike sponsorship, but GoPro, Skype, Monster, and Disney (ESPN) have picked up the slack. It does not disappoint.
Then there’s 32 producing their first team movie in twenty years. Having seen it and how it is hyped it might not have been the full encompassing spectacle that Never Not was, but it still managed to promote all the various sides of snowboarding that they sponsor. The one thing that it showed was that snowboarding will roll on with the companies that are supporting it.
The Industry Players:
Bobby Meeks the Robotfood legend and all around good dude has moved into a position as DC’s Snow Marketing Manager. You can see that he’s doing good things with taking a few Knowbuddies and turning them into Somebodies.
On top of Bobby a few of the boot engineers have made their way over to another big named boot brand, adidas. So perhaps those crying that there aren’t any boots for their feet they can move over to another non-endemic snowboard brand. Time will tell if adidas has learned from Nike’s mistakes or if they pull out as well.
While some speculated this dissolution of Nike Snowboard Boots would create a void, we’ve seen countless other brands step up. Vans has returned with with their best snowboard boot line to date and showing that even a hiccup in production won’t keep them out of snowboarding. adidas is still here and while they might be making track suits they’re trucking forward for now. 32 as previously mentioned seems to have slid in to get in on the marketing void. Over all the options on the market are still above what Nike created.
The downward spiral of advertising, marketing, and sponsorship dollars continues. This was par for the course before Nike pulled out and while there is a loss of financial benefits there, all it’s doing is causing the media, riders, and other outlets that needed this to look elsewhere or die. It’s that constant state of ebb and flow that is benefiting snowboarding in the long run by culling the herd.
Maybe Nike will return, maybe they won’t. But one thing is for certain as I previously have stated numerous times, snowboarding will survive without their big budgets and ability to buy their way in. So after a year would you say that snowboarding is worse or better off without them?