Nike, Inc. is a major publicly traded sportswear and equipment supplier based in the United States. The company is headquartered in the Portland metropolitan area of Oregon, near Beaverton. It is the world's leading supplier of athletic shoes, apparel and sports equipment with revenue in excess of $16 billion USD in 2007. As of 2008, it employed over 30,000 people world-wide. Nike and Precision Castparts are the only Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state of Oregon.
The company was founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight, and officially became Nike, Inc. in 1978. The company takes its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Nike markets its products under its own brand as well as Nike Golf, Nike Pro, Nike+, Air Jordan, Nike Skateboarding, Team Starter, and subsidiaries including Cole Haan, Hurley International, Umbro and Converse. Nike also owned Bauer Hockey (later renamed Nike Bauer) between 1995 and 2008. In addition to manufacturing sportswear and equipment, the company operates retail stores under the Niketown name. Nike sponsors many high profile athletes and sports teams around the world, with the highly recognized trademarks of "Just do it" and the Swoosh logo.
Origins and history
Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, was founded by University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman in January 1964. The company initially operated as a distributor for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger, making most sales at track meets out of Knight's car.
The company's profits grew quickly, and in 1966, BRS opened its first retail store, located on Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica, Calif. By 1971, the relationship between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger was nearing an end. BRS prepared to launch its own line of footwear, which would bear the newly designed Swoosh.
The first shoe to carry this design that was sold to the public was a soccer cleat named "Nike", which was released in the summer of 1971. In February 1972, BRS introduced its first line of Nike shoes, with the name Nike derived from the Greek goddess of victory. In 1978, BRS, Inc. officially renamed itself to Nike, Inc. Beginning with Ilie Nastase, the first professional athlete to sign with BRS/Nike, the sponsorship of athletes became a key marketing tool for the rapidly growing company.
The company's first self-designed product was based on Bowerman's "waffle" design in which the sole of the shoe was inspired by the pattern of a waffle iron.
Together, Nike and Wieden+Kennedy have created many indelible print and television ads and the agency continues to be Nike's primary today. It was agency co-founder Dan Wieden who coined the now-famous slogan "Just Do It" for a 1988 Nike ad campaign, which was chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top five ad slogans of the 20th Century, and the campaign has been enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution.
Throughout the 1980s, Nike expanded its product line to include many other sports and regions throughout the world.