Nike signe un contrat à vie avec LeBron James !

NBA LeBron James
Revenus : $48 millions ; Sponsors majeurs : Nike, Samsung Electronics , Coca-Cola, Tencent, Kia Motors, Beats By Dre

Selon des sources très proches du dossier, Nike a signé la star de la NBA et des Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, à vie, devenant par la même occasion l’athlète le mieux payé de l’histoire de la marque au swoosh.

Nous pouvons confirmer la conclusion d’un contrat à vie et d’une relation unique nous liant à LeBron, qui va apporter plus de valeur à nos produits, nos marques et nos investisseurs » aurait déclaré un porte-parole de Nike. « Nous avons déjà construit une relation solide et des produits d’exception avec LeBron durant ces 12 dernières années et nous connaissons le potentiel de croissance durant sa carrière et au-delà.

Bien évidemment la valeur du contrat n’a pas été dévoilé mais de l’histoire de Nike, aucun athlète ne dispose d’un tel contrat. Sous contrat avec Nike depuis 2003, la star des Cavs touche environ 20 millions de dollars par an, représentant environ 50% de ses revenus publicitaires. Néanmoins, on peut largement estimer que ce contrat dépasse de très loin le contrat entre Nike et l’autre star de la NBA, Kevin Durant, contrat estimé à 300 millions de dollars pour 10 ans.

« LeBron et moi-même sommes tout simplement obsédés par Nike depuis que nous sommes petits » s’est exprimé Maverick Carter, le conseiller financier, co-investisseur et ami très proche de LeBron James. « La construction et le développement d’une marque totalement mondiale avec Nike est un rêve qui devient réalité. Nous avons hâte d’emmener notre collaboration un cran au-dessus. Et LeBron est complètement aux anges de savoir qu’il est un « Nike Guy for Life ». »

Avec ce contrat avec LeBron James, Nike s’assure la présence d’une des superstars de la Ligue Nord-Américaine de basketball et suit la mode d’un contrat à vie, inauguré il y a quelques années par adidas avec David Beckham ou Zinedine Zidane ou encore récemment avec le basketteur Derrick Rose. Michael Jordan détient un accord de facto avec Nike Inc. avec la création de la marque Jordan et le développement de sa chaussure, la Air Jordan – qui a par ailleurs dépassé les 2.2 milliards de dollars de revenus annuels.

La présence de LeBron James à vie chez Nike s’inscrit aussi dans la volonté de l’équipementier d’atteindre la barre des 50 milliards de dollars de revenus d’ici 2020. En effet, avec 400 millions de revenus annuels pour sa signature shoe, la croissance et les perspectives de croissance pour LeBron James au sein de Nike sont très prometteuses.

La LeBron 13 Balance Shoe
La LeBron 13 Balance Shoe

Mis à part Michael Jordan, personne d’autre ne dispose d’autant de versions différentes de sa signature shoe. Il était même question de créer une division au sein de Nike, pour LeBron James, à la manière de Jordan pour Michael Jordan mais au final, cette hypothèse ne devrait pas voir le jour.

Le nouveau contrat à vie de LeBron James devrait prendre effet d’ici 2020, en plein milieu du deal entre Nike et la NBA, et va donc se prolonger largement au delà de la fin de la carrière du natif d’Akron, Ohio.

Ce contrat est aussi la réponse fracassante de Nike à ses concurrents comme adidas qui ne cesse de signer de nouveaux athlètes dans le cadre de sa stratégie sur le territoire nord-américain mais aussi Under Armour qui bénéficie de la côte de popularité de son athlète phare, le MVP des dernières NBA Finals, Stephen Curry des Golden State Warriors.

Pour LeBron James, ce contrat à vie est sans doute le graal, le succès ultime d’une carrière hors parquet magistralement menée. Accompagné de son ami Maverick Carter, LeBron James a pris des parts dans la marque Beats avant sa vente à Apple, détient des parts dans le club de Liverpool, a quitté McDonald’s pour prendre plus de pouvoir dans la chaine de pizza, Blaze Miami. Plus récemment, il a réussi à convaincre Time Warner et Turner Sports d’investir plus de 15 millions de dollars dans sa plateforme multimedia à destination des athlètes, intitulé Uninterrupted, hébergée sur l’un des plus grands sites de sport, Bleacher Report.

Après l’annonce de Kobe Bryant de la fin de sa carrière, Nike tient peut-être son nouvel ambassadeur, LeBron James.

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