Oct 11, 2019

Nike is shutting down its Oregon Project track program

Alberto Salazar. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Nike announced is shuttering its athletic training and track program, the Nike Oregon Project, just two weeks after head coach Alberto Salazar was banned from the sport by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for trafficking banned substances, Runner's World reports.

Why it matters: Nike's Oregon Project made American distance running competitive and produced a number of Olympic and world champions since opening in 2001. Shutting it down jeopardize's America's future in distance events.

The state of play: No Oregon Project athletes have tested positive for any banned substances, but Nike CEO Mark Parker says they're halting the program because Salazar's situation is "compromising their ability to focus on training and competition."

What's next: Salazar is appealing his suspension, but his ban stays in place while the case is pending. Nike says they support his decision to appeal.

Go deeper

Nike Oregon Project "emotionally and physically abused" runners, athlete says

Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Track and field phenom Mary Cain was the youngest American athlete to make a World Championships team at age 17. But her trajectory was dismantled when she joined a prestigious Nike distance running group in Oregon in 2013, she said in a New York Times video op-ed.

Why it matters: Cain's story reveals some of the methods employed at the recently shuttered Nike Oregon Project and the "win-at-all-costs culture" touted by its coach Alberto Salazar, who now faces a four-year athletics ban for doping offenses.

Go deeperArrowNov 7, 2019

Nike CEO Mark Parker to be replaced by ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Longtime Nike CEO Mark Parker will step down in January 2020 and will be replaced by John Donahoe, CEO of ServiceNow and a Nike board member, the company announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Given Donahoe's background, this seems like a clear indicator that Nike wants to become a technology company that sells shoes/apparel rather than a traditional retailer. Nike has been on the path to becoming much more of a direct-to-consumer company and less of a wholesale company for a while, but this could speed it up dramatically.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019

The actual divergence between Nike and Under Armour

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yesterday I used an incorrect chart in my item about Nike and Under Armour. Lots of you wrote in to point out the error (some were more polite than others).

  • First, I want to apologize for the error. There was a miscommunication between me and our visuals team and that resulted in us charting Nike at 7% gain since November 2005 when — as the above chart correctly shows — the gain has been more than 770%.
  • Second, I want to thank everyone who spotted the error and took time out of their day to bring it to my attention (even if you were very rude...you know who you are; but still, thank you for correcting my mistake).
  • Third, I want to promise that I'll be much more careful with these charts in the future. I want all of our readers to know that what you read in Axios Markets is top-tier information you can take to the bank. I let you all down yesterday and it won't happen again

Real news: Nike's stock had a rough outing on Wednesday but has been a strong performer over the past few years as direct-to-consumer and e-commerce sales, growth in China and merchandising boons from big names like LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick have helped power the brand's stock to fresh all-time highs.

  • That has helped Nike's stock surpass Under Armour, which had looked to be the future of athletic wear, in recent years despite ongoing controversies involving Nike's top brass.
Keep ReadingArrowOct 24, 2019