Gear High School Pro

Top Sports Brands Want Lax Domination

reebok_heads

Reebok's houndstooth dyed heads

The race is on! For the past few years we’ve all heard rumors but now its official: Adidas, Nike and Reebok are all making considerable efforts to get into the game.  While they all want a part of the lacrosse pie, each brand is employing different strategies on their quest for lax domination.

For the moment, Reebok’s focus is on the NLL.  This move makes sense since they picked up Chad Wittman as Head of Reebok Lacrosse.  Whittman used to work with Harrow and is well connected in the Box Lax world.

Nike seems to be moving towards the youth market.  This strategy is different than Reebok but is smart as well because Nike has cache with youngsters and if you can hook them early, they might stay loyal for life.

I can’t seem to get a grip on where Adidas will fall into play but if I had to guess I would say they will go for the college ranks where they can really market using big time, big name schools (and proven commodities!) like Notre Dame and Michigan.

I have yet to hear any major names sign with Adidas or Nike and haven’t seen a ton of compelling advertising from either of them.  Their heads look pretty good, but it is hard to equate real quality just from pictures.  I have only seen ONE Adidas head used in play by a 40 year old guy and NO Nike products beyond shoes and shorts.

Reebok is making their play.

Reebok is making a play

I have seen some Reebok gloves here and there, some with NLL colors, and some Reebok pads as well.  All reviews so far have been positive for the most part.  Unlike the other big two, Reebok has had some success in pulling big name players to their sponsor lineup.  Reebok already has Matt Alrich, Brodie Merrill and Mark Steenhuis on their roster.  Rumors are flying that a Zach Greer signing is iminent. You can see from their current roster that Chad Wittman has the ‘Bok laser focused on indoor lax but two of those guys (Merrill and Alrich) are also outdoor stars as well.  A Greer signing would be big because he is clearly going to be a great MLL and NLL player for years to come.

Reebok is also whipping out some pretty sweet custom stuff.  Again, I can’t vouch for the quality of the product but as you can see in this post, the hounds-tooth dyed heads are pretty darn sweet looking at the very least.  The top level gloves Reebok offers are excellent (I have actually seen and used those) and the padding looks great and has a real hockey feel to it protection-wise.

I’m curious to see where these companies take the game and where they focus their marketing efforts.  Nike is definitely all about the kids and looking to the future.  This is especially evident in their sponsorship of so many lacrosse camps around the country.  Adidas is still a big question mark for me but I would venture a guess that in October and November, we will see a big push.   They have yet to really make a move and at that point is is now or never.

Where are these big companies heading?  How will they affect the game?  Will they innovate or just replicate what is on the market now?  Can they pull big name stars over to endorse their products? Do they even need big name players?

Brodie Merrill is with Reebok. Is Greer headed there too?

Brodie Merrill is with Reebok. Greer is headed that way too...

In the next couple of months, and then for the next couple of years, we will all find out together. My feeling is that unless the current lacrosse companies really step their game up in product quality and lower pricing, they will lose out to the big boys.

As an aside, did you know that no one makes lacrosse gear in North America other than Mohawk International Lacrosse?  That’s right, everyone goes to China for their lacrosse gear.  Makes total sense with this being the first American sport and all.  Check out Mohawk if you have a chance.  Their sticks can take an ABSOLUTE BEATING and be no worse for the wear.  Excellent for Box Lax or D-men who throw wood.

About the author

Connor Wilson

Connor is the Publisher of LacrosseAllStars.com. He lives in Brooklyn with his better half, continues to play and coach both box and field lacrosse in NYC as much as possible, and covers the great game that is lacrosse full-time. He spends his spare time stringing sticks and watching Futurama.

19 Comments

  • John Grant Jr is with Adidas. Ryan Powell, Kyle Harrison and Brett Hughes are with Nike. Nike is basically piggybacking STX, having STX make the equipment and slapping a swoosh on it. Adidas outsourced their production to an independent group in Los Angeles. Both companies are aggressively sponsoring tournaments and camps all over the country.

  • that is exactly why I mentioned them! they brought out some new cleats for the Wolverines just for the Championship and they looked pretty sweet. Also the 3 stripes goes well with the Michigan helmet and glove design… sort of.

  • excellent info. thanks!
    I mentioned all the Nike camps… I haven't heard of any really good ones from Adidas though. can you provide some examples so I can learn a bit more?
    JG Jr is a huge signing for Adidas because he is arguably the best player in the world and has a lax heritage as strong as they come but does he have the superstar power and personality to carry an entire company? I'm legitimately asking… have never met the man.
    Nike has some big names on their roster with a pretty evident focus on the outdoor game but I wonder why I haven't seen more advertising from them featuring those players. maybe I'm out of the loop?

  • Sorry but Kyle and Brett are both with STX for equipment. Kyle is with Nike for apparel only as in all of the Nike lax ads he's using all STX equipment. I don't understand why Brett is in the Nike ads, maybe he's got some apparel deal too

  • seems like Nike and STX are linked pretty strongly.
    Could Nike basically buy out STX, keep the name for recognition and slap swooshies on half the stuff? I guess it is 100% possible.
    The fact that these guys have STX deals and Nike apparel deals should tell you how linked they must be already.
    interesting…

  • all right, Rabil, my bad for not mentioning UA… although I already did an entire post that basically only talked about UA… and a little Stiffler: http://lacrosseallstars.com/can-lacrosse-crosso

    Under Armour has definitely progressed from “just” a lacrosse brand. Will they re-enter the lacrosse market as an equipment manufacturer? I wouldn't be surprised either way. Some people are believers in the “do what you've been doing” attitude like DeBeer while others are always looking to expand, like Warrior did with Hockey gear and Nike, Adidas and Reebok are now doing with lax.
    Under Armour has a HUGE following in the lax world, a great design team (their gear is always fresh) and an obvious understanding and lineage with regards to lacrosse. They sponsor the HS AA game and the helmets from that event are always a hot commodity.

    I guess my only question would be if UA starts to produce padding, it wouldn't really be under anything anymore… would they call that section of their company “Actual Armour”?

  • Nike doesn't run any lacrosse camps. The camps you are talking about are run by USSportsCamps. Nike gives them some free swag in exchange for using their name and logo. Nike sponsors Jake Reed's Blue Chip camps, which is huge in the recruiting world. Adidas has the Adidas National Lacrosse Classic, one of the bigger national high school recruiting tournaments.

    You haven't seen a big commitment in advertising and sponsorships by Nike and adidas because the lacrosse market is still too small to justify it. They are both testing the waters. If the game truly explodes, they'll be set to take advantage. (By “truly explodes” I mean numbers that will make a real financial difference to multi-billion dollar companies like Nike and adidas.)

    The interesting twist here is that Reebok is owned by adidas, yet they compete for a lot of business.

  • John Grant Jr is with Adidas. Ryan Powell, Kyle Harrison and Brett Hughes are with Nike. Nike is basically piggybacking STX, having STX make the equipment and slapping a swoosh on it. Adidas outsourced their production to an independent group in Los Angeles. Both companies are aggressively sponsoring tournaments and camps all over the country.

  • that is exactly why I mentioned them! they brought out some new cleats for the Wolverines just for the Championship and they looked pretty sweet. Also the 3 stripes goes well with the Michigan helmet and glove design… sort of.

  • excellent info. thanks!
    I mentioned all the Nike camps… I haven't heard of any really good ones from Adidas though. can you provide some examples so I can learn a bit more?
    JG Jr is a huge signing for Adidas because he is arguably the best player in the world and has a lax heritage as strong as they come but does he have the superstar power and personality to carry an entire company? I'm legitimately asking… have never met the man.
    Nike has some big names on their roster with a pretty evident focus on the outdoor game but I wonder why I haven't seen more advertising from them featuring those players. maybe I'm out of the loop?

  • Sorry but Kyle and Brett are both with STX for equipment. Kyle is with Nike for apparel only as in all of the Nike lax ads he's using all STX equipment. I don't understand why Brett is in the Nike ads, maybe he's got some apparel deal too

  • seems like Nike and STX are linked pretty strongly.
    Could Nike basically buy out STX, keep the name for recognition and slap swooshies on half the stuff? I guess it is 100% possible.
    The fact that these guys have STX deals and Nike apparel deals should tell you how linked they must be already.
    interesting…

  • all right, Rabil, my bad for not mentioning UA… although I already did an entire post that basically only talked about UA… and a little Stiffler: http://lacrosseallstars.com/can-lacrosse-crosso

    Under Armour has definitely progressed from “just” a lacrosse brand. Will they re-enter the lacrosse market as an equipment manufacturer? I wouldn't be surprised either way. Some people are believers in the “do what you've been doing” attitude like DeBeer while others are always looking to expand, like Warrior did with Hockey gear and Nike, Adidas and Reebok are now doing with lax.
    Under Armour has a HUGE following in the lax world, a great design team (their gear is always fresh) and an obvious understanding and lineage with regards to lacrosse. They sponsor the HS AA game and the helmets from that event are always a hot commodity.

    I guess my only question would be if UA starts to produce padding, it wouldn't really be under anything anymore… would they call that section of their company “Actual Armour”?

  • Nike doesn't run any lacrosse camps. The camps you are talking about are run by USSportsCamps. Nike gives them some free swag in exchange for using their name and logo. Nike sponsors Jake Reed's Blue Chip camps, which is huge in the recruiting world. Adidas has the Adidas National Lacrosse Classic, one of the bigger national high school recruiting tournaments.

    You haven't seen a big commitment in advertising and sponsorships by Nike and adidas because the lacrosse market is still too small to justify it. They are both testing the waters. If the game truly explodes, they'll be set to take advantage. (By “truly explodes” I mean numbers that will make a real financial difference to multi-billion dollar companies like Nike and adidas.)

    The interesting twist here is that Reebok is owned by adidas, yet they compete for a lot of business.

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