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Can you imagine a Serie A without Nike?

The possible switch of Inter would lead to an epochal change that takes us back a quarter of a century

Can you imagine a Serie A without Nike? The possible switch of Inter would lead to an epochal change that takes us back a quarter of a century

The revolution of the Inter brand has unleashed an uncontrolled vortex of rumors, rumors that go in every direction. Some of these concern Nike, the historic Nerazzurri technical sponsor alongside the Milanese club from the 1998-99 season. According to rumors of specialized sites, there are distances that seem unbridgeable between the two parties on the renewal of the contract expiring in June 2024. Monitor the situation remotely adidas, which seems to be ready to formulate an important economic offer to convince the last Serie A team with the Swoosh on their uniform to turn the page.

Many brands that are considered minor - only in relation to the structure that Nike and adidas have built over the years - are gradually closing a gap that just 10 years ago was off the scale, both in terms of strategy and in terms of budget. Nike has tightened its sponsorship pyramid in recent years, but at the same time it hasn't implemented and improved the conditions it offers to its Elite teams. 

Reasoning similar to the one that led to "Nixit", the farewell of many players to other brands. The change of sponsor of what was once a formidable Nike Team has been motivated by many with "a drastic change of focus, separation and differentiation on the part of the brand" which led to NeymarLewandowskiSergio Ramos, Sterling, Thiago Alcantara, Hazard, Varane, James Rodriguez and Martial to move away from the American brand.

The change of sponsor by Inter would represent an epochal turning point in the history of Serie A, which at that point would find itself with zero teams in the Italian top flight after the early exit of the contract by AS Roma, which in the meantime has already signed a new sponsorship agreement with New Balance. Even the rumors about a possible farewell of Venezia FC  - on which Nike was focusing mainly because it considered the city a key city of the Italian market - go in this direction, despite the brand having a long-term contract with Serie A for the supply of the single ball.

The hypothesis of a total absence of Nike at the Serie A club level opens up a scenario that has not been seen since the 1997-96 season, when no team was sponsored by the Swoosh. The first team in A to have the Nike brand on the shirt was Napoli of Claudio Bellucci in 97-98, but the very first Italian team to wear Nike was Brescello  an Emilian C1 team that became a sort of guinea pig for the neighbor Italian headquarters of the brand in Reggio Emilia. From the 1998-99 season to today, Nike has always been present in Serie A on the shirts of Inter, Juventus from 2003 to 2013 (also considering the year in B post Calciopoli), AS Roma from 2014 to 2021, Atalanta from 2014 to 2017 and Hellas Verona from 2013 to 2018 (with a year in B). Nike's pinnacle in Serie A was reached in the 2014-15 season, when all 5 teams listed were sponsored by the Beaverton brand. Within this path, Inter represented Nike's only bulwark in 6 seasons, confirming itself as one of the cornerstones of the Italian market.

If Inter were to complete the rebranding by also changing technical sponsor and switching to adidas, it would be a sign of definitive crisis on the part of Nike which would lose its last shares in a Serie A market which, for the Swoosh, has been falling since 2016.