Thoughts on Kara’s sponsorship decisions

Do any of you readers follow the professional marathoners and triathletes? I have a few favorites that I like to keep track of-Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, and Ryan Hall for marathoners; Meredith Kessler, Andy Potts, and Miranda Carfrae for triathletes.

If you follow Kara Goucher, I’m sure you’ve heard of her new sponsorship decisions. She had been with Nike for 12 years-Nike is a very well respected and established company in the running world obviously, so I personally was surprised that she didn’t renew her contract with them. Not only that, but her first signing was with Oiselle, a VERY young company. Odd, I thought, but she mentioned in several interviews that she was excited that they put their athletes first. My guess is since Nike sponsors SO MANY athletes, she felt she didn’t have much of a say–just speculation here.

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The next company she signed with was Skechers-now, this company has been around for a while, but is definitely not thought of as a running shoe company-at least not as much as Nike is. She mentioned in her interview upon her announcement that she was excited that Skechers listened to and accepted her input.

Next, Kara signed with Nuun hydration. This company is pretty young as well, but at least known for hydrating runners.  (Too bad she didn’t choose Hammer Nutrition!! 😉 )

The most recent company Kara has signed with is Soleus-I just read about this one yesterday. Soleus is a GPS watch company-also a young company-they just started in 2008.

So, why would Kara leave such a well established, power-house of a company like Nike to sign with four lesser known, younger companies? Maybe she was feeling stuck with Nike? Maybe she didn’t like that she had no input in the product design? Maybe she just wants to help these companies out-after all, they all seem like good companies, and she sure has made a name for herself. Probably once she signed, each of the companies got a little more publicity!

What are your thoughts? 

In some dreamworld where we could all be sponsored by any company we wanted like the pros, would you choose a well-known company, or would you pick the smaller, more personable company?

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