Nike Stock Rebounds After Colin Kaepernick Ad Controversy

Find out whether it's a good idea to invest in Nike now.
  • NKE stock gained back some of its loss after a controversial ad campaign launched to hit an all-time high.
  • The majority of the attention has been on the ad featuring former NFL star Colin Kaepernick.
  • Nike and Kaepernick have received both support and opposition following the ad.

Despite a sharp drop in value after Nike (NYSE: NKE) announced its controversial decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in a recent ad campaign, it looks like Nike stock is rebounding. The athletic apparel giant’s shares dropped 3 percent on the morning of Sept. 4, 2018, but gained about 4.5 percent since the initial decline as of closing on Sept. 17. Nike’s shares hit an all-time high of $83.90 on Sept. 13, reported CNBC.

Nike selected the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to star in the ad marking the 30th anniversary of the brand’s iconic “Just Do It” slogan. The ad campaign featured a black-and-white photo of Kaepernick with the headline “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Kaepernick was the first football player to kneel during the national anthem, igniting a storm of protests against racism — and protests against athletes choosing to kneel during the national anthem.

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Opponents wasted no time letting Nike know what they believed in, reacting to the announcement with tweets including the hashtag #NikeBoycott. Others, including athletes LeBron James and Kevin Durant, voiced their support for Kaepernick and the campaign.

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Nike Market Cap Is $135B as Its Stock Rebounds

Nike has a market cap of around $135 billion. Apex Marketing Group estimated the ad campaign generated over $43 million worth of media exposure in the 24 hours following the announcement on Twitter, which was made on Monday, Sept. 3. On the other hand, the company lost about $3.75 billion in market value as the stock dropped over 3 percent on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

However, there have been throngs of support following the ad. “Black-ish” star Jenifer Lewis sported Nike regalia during the 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 17. Kaepernick himself managed to sell out his #IMWITHKAP jerseys on his website. The proceeds are slated to go to the Kaepernick-founded Know Your Rights Camp, a free campaign for youth to raise awareness on self-empowerment.

So, what does this mean for Nike stock? Opinions are mixed. Matt Powell, a senior advisor with NPD Group, a market research firm, told Reuters, “The alt-right calls for a Nike boycott will fail just like the boycott of Dick’s Sporting Goods failed. Old angry white guys are not a core demographic for Nike.”

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Neil Saunders of GlobalData Retail told Reuters that the campaign will hurt Nike in some parts of the country. “The company’s stand may go down well on its native West Coast; it will be far less welcome in many other locations,” Saunders said.

Nike Share Price Increased by Nearly $70 in the Past 10 Years

One fact potential investors should consider when weighing a decision to invest: Nike doesn’t make many mistakes. On Dec. 1, 2008, the stock was trading at $10.38 per share. Less than 10 years later, Nike stock’s opening price on Sept. 4, even after the controversial announcement, was $79.39.

Nike stands behind its choice. “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” said Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America. “We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes.”

Even after its initial decline, NKE stock is up nearly 30 percent this year — plus, to reiterate, its stock hit record numbers following the ad. The investing category has been on a tear, with competitors Adidas (OTC: ADDDF) and Under Armour (NYSE: UAA) also up, over 20 percent and over 40 percent, respectively, for the year. 

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      Sean Dennison contributed to the reporting for this article.