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Nike (NKE) Takes Heat Off the NFL & Apple (AAPL) Partners With the NBA

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research where Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains evaluates Nike NKE amid the Colin Kaepernick saga. The episode then takes a look at Apple’s (AAPL - Free Report) deal with the NBA and closes with the potential impact of the NFL’s next possible revenue stream.

The NFL’s ratings have declined as the popularity of linear TV as a whole continues to sink. This, of course, has hurt the league’s TV partners ESPN (DIS - Free Report) , CBS (CBS - Free Report) , NBC (CMCSA - Free Report) , and FOX FOXA. But the NFL is still an insanely popular sport and one of the most watched products on television. Still, the NFL was likely pleased to be somewhat blinded by Nike’s Kaepernick-focused advertisements last week as it took some of the heat of its handling of the issue.

Nike’s decision to stick by the controversial Kaepernick isn’t new for the sportswear giant, yet amid the nearly constant debate surrounding the national anthem protests, it was a somewhat bold move. Nike, which took over for Adidas’ ADDYY Reebok brand as the official jersey partner of the NFL in 2012, will likely continue to perform well going forward. The Oregon-based company has pushed deep into the direct-to-consumer business, which includes partnerships with Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , Chinese e-commerce power JD.Com (JD - Free Report) , and even Facebook (FB - Free Report) .

Moving on from Nike’s calculated decision to promote Kaepernick, Apple recently announced a major partnership with the NBA. Apple’s Beats By Dre brand signed a sponsorship deal with the NBA to become the official headphone, wireless speaker, and audio partner of the league, the WNBA, and USA Basketball. Apple’s latest move to boost its non-iPhone business also contrasts the growing differences between the NBA and the NFL.

The episode then concludes with a look at some of the early projections of what a fully regulated and mature gambling market would do for the NFL. Legal sports betting comes at a time when the NFL and its TV and business partners, including Anheuser-Busch (BUD - Free Report) , Ford (F - Free Report) , PepsiCo (PEP - Free Report) , and Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , are looking for as many ways as possible to keep fans engaged. And it’s not too hard to imagine the NFL making some type of deal similar to the NBA’s MGM (MGM - Free Report) partnership at some point relatively soon.

As a reminder, if you feel that we missed something, or if you have any topic suggestions, shoot us an email at Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at, and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

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