Take a look at any professional tennis tournament, and chances are they will be a good amount of players wearing Nike and Adidas. The same goes for amateur events, as these are the two leaders in the clothing and shoe industry right now.
However, one place where you will not see the Nike swoosh or the Adidas three stripes is on the tennis racquet itself.
With so much success in the sporting goods industry, why do Nike and Adidas not sell tennis racquets? This is a closer examination of why the two giants stay away from racquets.
Sometimes, companies take a risk and see if they can actually get into a certain market. That’s the case for Adidas, as they made wood and metal racquets in the 1970s and 1980s. They even tied to make it come back in 2008, but it was met with pretty poor feedback.
It seems like whatever Adidas tried with racquets, they could not compete with companies that have been around for such a long time. It didn’t help that their failed attempt in the 2000s came down to not putting out a very high-quality product. It did not match with the company in general, and it was largely mocked for the release.
Nike hasn’t touched racquets, but they did try to produce golf clubs. They launched their line in 2002, backed by the most popular golf player in the world in Tiger Woods. By 2016, they shut down their department developing clubs, balls, and bags. The money just was not there, and many speculate the same thing would happen in tennis with racquets.
Crowded markets have not scared off Nike and Adidas in the past, so this is not the only reason why they don’t make tennis racquets.
However, it certainly doesn’t help, as they don’t see the lucrative opportunities in this part of sporting goods. If they thought it was worth taking a chance and starting to manufacture tennis racquets, they would go in that direction.
Wilson, Babolat, Head, Yonex, and Prince are just a few dominant names in the racquet industry right now. Since people only buy racquets every so often, there is no opportunity to make a ton of money off players. If these companies only sold racquets, they would be in financial trouble.
How Many Logos Are Too Much?
One theory that does make sense to a certain degree is that both Nike and Adidas are already very well visible on the average professional player.
For example, most people see plenty of swooshes on players like Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. They might not necessarily recognize that their racquet is made by Babolat and Wilson, respectively, as the branding is a little subtle.
If the goal is to increase brand recognition when a player is out on the court, they already get it with the clothing and shoe endorsements. Having a swoosh or three stripes on the racquet would be nice, but it might not help that much in improving how the company is perceived.
This mix-matching of brands is also visible in team sports. As an example, one brand will sponsor a team, while the other sponsors the individual athlete.
One prime example of that right now in soccer is Lionel Messi. He has a cleat sponsorship deal with Adidas, but the club team he currently plays for has a deal with Jordan Brand. Both brands feel like they get some recognition, so they aren’t too worried about there being some mixing around.
None of the companies known for making racquets has been able to really make a splash in the outfit department as well. All of them try to some extent, but they are unable to get those clothing deals with players like Nike and Adidas have dominated.
Out of the major brands, Babolat and Yonex seem to be doing the best of landing at least some decent professionals in their clothing and their racquets.
A lot will go into a successful racquet launch for Nike or Adidas at this point. It’s not so much about spending money to develop a racquet, but that would cost a decent amount of money. It’s really about bringing on a team that would help with the technical aspect of it, and then growing that department more and more.
There’s no doubt that Nike and Adidas have a lot of the marketing process down. They sell plenty of other products that this would not be an issue at all. However, there’s a lot of initial start-up costs to launching a line like racquets. It would take them a long time to get their money back, if they are making money at all.
Does It Make Sense For Nike and Adidas To Make Racquets?
Many people believe that the number one reason why Nike and Adidas have not really jumped into the racquet market is that the business is not as lucrative as one might think.
The margins are pretty thin, and companies aren’t making a killing selling racquets exclusively. The racquet companies making money are also making money in several other categories, which is why they can offset the cost.
The success Nike and Adidas have had in the past would indicate that they would jump on any opportunity if it made financial sense for them.
At the end of the day, the companies most likely look at tennis racquets as not something that will move the needle for them at all. If it’s not worth it, there’s no sense in joining a market that’s already fairly crowded.
Will Nike & Adidas Ever Get Into The Tennis Racquet Industry?
The current market would have to change dramatically for Nike or Adidas to get into making tennis racquets. If either company is to do it, it would probably be Nike, just because Adidas seems to have learned its lesson.
Being a brand new racquet company in today’s world just doesn’t make a ton of sense, even with a huge name behind it. The companies already get plenty of brand exposure by having their logos printed all over clothing, and the margins are much better in that sector anyway.