Nike Golf is dead, or what we knew Nike Golf to be is dead. As Jason Day exits the brand for Malbon, we can't help but wonder how soon we can expect Tiger's departure. This seems almost inconceivable, but as more and more players leave flagship apparel companies for up-and-coming brands like Greyson and Malbon, this "impossibility" has a high percentage of becoming a reality, and we expect this trend to have a severely negative impact on Nike Golf.
Currently, Nike Golf makes up only 2% to 4% of Nike's revenue and controls less than 7% of the Men's/Women's Golf apparel industry. In fact, Nike Golf is so small compared to the other verticals that they include Nike Golf in what they call "other business," or a catch-all for brands like Converse, AGC, and Hurley.
We believe as more and more players leave the brand, we could be on the brink of another 2016 decision. If you're not familiar, Nike decided to stop manufacturing equipment, bags, and balls due to bad performance, proving that Nike cares more about profit than supporting the sport's long-term success.
Over the past few years, Nike has made an effort to curb this negative trend and expand their reach with collaborations with Drake's OVO, Travis Scott and the AJ1 Low Golf, Supreme, and Off-White, but due to the extremely limited availability and their popularity in the reselling market, these items are amazing collector's items, but not something focused on building long term brand loyalty with young golfers, and far from the electricity Tiger brought to the brand in the mid-nineties.
In conclusion, we expect massive turnover in Nike Golf's athlete roster over the next five years, and if Nike doesn't make an enormous shift in strategy, we could see the end of Nike Golf by 2030.
It's hard not to think that Nike plans to match their exit from the sport with Tiger Woods' looming retirement.
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