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The two Nikes

This week's podcast is with two of the most influential sports news journalists working today: Martyn Ziegler of The Times and Martha Kelner of Sky News.

To start the conversation, I asked Martyn and Martha to define how their respective platforms defined sports news. 

As a generalist news channel, Sky News needs a story to talk to people who aren’t necessarily interested in sport. In the list of such stories recently, Martha Kelner listed the Caster Semanya case and the BOA’s Rule 40 stance as two stories which ‘get people outraged’. 

Kelner cited Nike’s relationship with its women athletes as one that ticks that particular box.

MK: “We’ve followed the story about Nike and whether they do actually take their responsibilities toward women athletes seriously…some of whom had their pay docked when they announced they were pregnant. Jo Pavey said the same thing happened to her when she had her son and then her daughter. These are the stories that really get people outraged, those are the sort of stories Sky News is interested in." 

Unofficial Partner: So what we're saying is that there are two Nikes. That version and the one that’s covered in the marketing press and wins awards for creative advertising.

MK: "Yes. There's no denying they're brilliant marketers. If you look at what they do with Serena Williams, they traded off the fact that she was coming back after having her baby. But this is Serena Williams, they can afford to trade off that because she’s an international star who transcends tennis. But they have responsibilities to athletes who don’t make them as much money as Serena Williams. You can’t deny Nike are hugely successful, I own Nike trainers and Nike leggings, but I’m starting to question whether they take their social responsibilities seriously and whether we need to look at the money we are giving to certain companies." 


This story from Business Insider is a good summary of the issues.

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