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Before the Women’s World Cup, Mia Hamm was the undisputed star of the United States team and the idol of soccer playing girls nationwide. After the United States victory, the torch was passed to a black Nike sports bra.

Had America’s undergarment contretemps been about another sports bra, few would have cared or noticed. But when Brandi Chastain doffed her jersey to reveal her black Nike sports bra after scoring the winning penalty kick, she invited conspiracy theorists to assume that the powerful and creative forces of Nike wrote the script for her. (And who writes the script when Pete Sampras executes his Wimbledon shirt strip? He is a Nike athlete, too.)

Nike is an easy target, the closest thing we have to an evil empire since the Soviet Union broke up. The hammer and sickle a dandy, undermerchandised logo in its heyday begat the ubiquitous swoosh.

The sports bra fix had to be in; this was Nike’s best chance to regain the public profile it temporarily ceded to And 1 when Latrell Sprewell’s ”American Dream” TV spot became a cause for sociological hand wringing.

All the pieces were in place that day for an ingenious Nike executive to leverage the power Nike already held by outfitting the team, to require all 20 players to wear its sports bra, mandate the shooting order of the United States penalty kickers, with Chastain last, figuring that anyone who would essentially pose nude for Gear magazine would act as if throwing off her shirt were a naturally exultant reaction to winning the World Cup.

Nike denies the conspiracy. ”When the team won, it was the first time I realized what bra she was wearing,” said Kathryn Reith, a spokeswoman for Nike, who added that Nike would never order its endorsers to wear its sports bra because, ”It’s an important, personal piece of equipment.”

Reith wondered why Nike would engage in such a marketing ploy if the product displayed to 40 million viewers (and countless more who saw photographs of Chastain in newspapers and magazines) is not available in stores? Advertising for the bra, a part of the new Inner Actives line that has been in biomechanical and material development for two years, begins next month. They go on sale in September.

”If we’re such great marketing geniuses, why would we do that?” Reith asked. How about buzz? What about hype? Surely, Chastain’s action on July 10 could be remembered, and catalogued for future use, all the way until September. This, after all, was underwear’s finest moment, more significant than Jim Palmer’s Jockey shorts, which were never made to be shown in public.

But the sports bra was, and should be. ”It’s perfectly acceptable outerwear,” said Sandy Bailey, the editor of Sports Illustrated for Women. ”This isn’t like men wearing jock straps outside or women wearing thongs in public. A sports bra is a bra in name only. Women wear it outside to jog and to work out in gyms.”

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In fact, the magazine showed prescience in its summer issue, with a guide to sports bras dubbed ”10 Great Sports Bras” on a cover line.

”It makes sense to use the photograph at consumer events, which she may attend,” said Reith. ”But even though we may use it to attract women’s attention, we still have to prove the bras work for each individual woman.”

ESPN’s Odd Decision

ESPN and Major League Baseball must work together despite their nasty court fight over ESPN’s attempt to shift three Sunday night baseball games in September from ESPN to ESPN2 and replace them with National Football League games. So it was odd that ESPN countered Fox’s telecast of Tuesday night’s All Star Game with a replay of the Women’s World Cup final.

”We were disappointed,” said Paul Beeston, the president of Major League Baseball. ”We would have hoped that they’d shown some consideration because we’d worked together to put the Home Run Derby into prime time for ESPN.” The Derby was ESPN’s highest rated program this year.

It was understandable that ESPN wanted to replay the historic soccer game, which carried ABC to an 11.4 Nielsen rating. But against the All Star Game, which showcases baseball, an ESPN property since 1990?

”The legal element wasn’t part of the decision,” said Mike Soltys, a spokesman for ESPN. ”We wanted to get the soccer game on quickly and we had strong commitments on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.”

The commitments were less crucial on ESPN2, which has 11 million fewer subscribers than ESPN. If ESPN2 was a good enough destination for the attempted shift of baseball from ESPN, wasn’t it good enough for the soccer replay?
precio nike air max mujer Was Sports Bra Celebration Spontaneous

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