Nike-Sponsored Athletes Dominate 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships, Take Home 71.67% of Top-3 Finishes in Track Events

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By Robert Johnson
July 30, 2019

It’s certainly not a secret that Nike sponsors more top track and field athletes than any other company. However, the degree of Nike’s dominance may surprise some people. Of the top three finishers in the 10 men’s and women’s running events at the 2019 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships, which concluded Sunday, Nike sponsored 71.67% of them (43/60). Adidas is the only other company that sponsors more than 10% of the top-3 finishers, as they come in second at 13.33% (8/60). If one looks only at male athletes, Nike’s dominance is even more striking as 86.67% (26/30) of the men’s top-3 finishers were wearing Nike kit.

See the stats yourself. Below I have listed the sponsor for all of the top-3 finishers for each of the 10 men’s and women’s track events at the 2019 USATF Outdoors.

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Sponsor of Men’s Top-3 Finishers at 2019 USAs
100: Nike, Nike, Nike
110h: Nike, adidas, Nike
200: adidas, Nike, Nike
400: Nike, Nike, adidas
400h: Nike, Nike, entered as CL Athletics Stars TC (but he was wearing full 2019 Nike pro kit, so we’re going with Nike)
800: Nike, Nike, University of Kansas (an adidas school)
1500: Nike, Nike, Nike
Steeple: Nike (WCAP sponsor), Nike, Nike
5000: Nike, Nike, Nike
10,000: Nike, Nike, Nike (WCAP sponsor)
Nike-sponsored total: 86.67% (26/30)
adidas-sponsored total: 13.33% (4/30)
All other shoe companies combined (Asics, Brooks, HOKA One One, New Balance, Reebok, Saucony, Skechers, Under Armour): 0% (0/30)

Sponsor of Women’s Top-3 Finishers at 2019 USAs
100: Nike, Nike, Nike
100h: adidas, Nike, Nike
200: Nike, Nike, USC (a Nike school)
400: adidas, New Balance, S. Carolina (an Under Armour school)
400h: Nike, New Balance, Nike
800: adidas, Nike, Nike
1500: Nike, New Balance, adidas
Steeple: New Balance, Nike, Nike
5000: Nike, Nike, New Balance
10,000: Saucony, New Balance, Hoka
Nike-sponsored total: 56.67% (17/30)
New Balance-sponsored total: 20% (6/30)
adidas-sponsored total: 13.33% (4/30)
HOKA-sponsored total: 3.33% (1/30)
Saucony-sponsored total: 3.33% (1/30)
Under Armour-sponsored total: 3.33% (1/30)
All other shoe companies combined (Asics,Brooks,  Reebok, Skechers): 0% (0/30)

Men’s and Women’s Top 3 Sponsorship Totals Combined
Nike-sponsored total: 71.67% (43/60)
adidas-sponsored total: 13.33% (8/60)
New Balance-sponsored total: 10% (6/60)
HOKA-sponsored total: 1.67% (1/60)
Saucony-sponsored total: 1.67% (1/60)
Under Armour-sponsored total: 1.67% (1.60)
All other shoe companies combined (Asics, Brooks, Reebok, Skechers): 0% (0/60)

If one only looks at mid-d and distance events, here is how the companies stack up.

Men
800:
Nike, Nike, University of Kansas (an adidas school)
1500: Nike, Nike, Nike
Steeple: Nike (WCAP sponsor), Nike, Nike
5000: Nike, Nike, Nike
10,000: Nike, Nike, Nike (WCAP sponsor)
Nike total: 93.33% (14/15)
adidas total: 6.67% (1/15)
Women
800: adidas, Nike, Nike
1500: Nike, New Balance, adidas
Steeple: New Balance, Nike, Nike
5000: Nike, Nike, New Balance
10k: Saucony, New Balance, Hoka
Nike total: 46.67% (7/15)
New Balance total: 26.67% (4/15)
adidas total: 13.33% (2/15)
HOKA total: 6.67% (1/15)
Saucony total: 6.67% (1/15)
Combined Men’s/Women’s Mid-D/Distance Top-3 Sponsorship at USAs
Nike: 70% (21/30)

New Balance 13.33% (4/30)
adidas 10% (3/30)
HOKA 3.33% (1/30)
Saucony 3.33% (1/30)

Asics, Brooks, Skechers, Under Armour: 0%

Nike’s dominance shouldn’t come as a shock as they are significantly larger than the other companies listed. In terms of market cap, Nike at $109.64 billion is nearly twice as valuable as the #2 shoe company in the world, adidas ($57.54 billion — of which Reebok is a subsidiary). In terms of revenue, Nike generated $36.40 billion last year, nearly $15 billion more than adidas’s $21.92 billion.

If you adjusted top-3 showings at USAs per dollar of revenue, Nike wouldn’t come out on top. New Balance, for example, had $4.5 billion in revenue last year, so they have one top-3 finisher for every $750 million in revenue whereas Nike produced one top-3 finisher for every $846.5 million in revenue.

Compared to Nike, a company like HOKA is miniscule in size. For the 2018 fiscal year, Hoka’s sales increased 45.4%, but they only totaled $223.1 million so they produced one top-3 finisher for every $223 million in revenue.


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