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Nike and the MCLA Form Partnership

According to a press release from the MCLA, Nike has entered into an agreement to become the leagues 'brand of choice'.  While the article does not go into specifics in regard to exactly how the MCLA will benefit, from a strictly business standpoint this is a smart move on Nikes part.  Like ESPN, Nike is investing in lacrosse while the sport is still in its infancy, hoping that someday (20, 30 years?) lacrosse will grow up to be the third major collegiate sport.  Imagine if there is a day where MCLA teams are turning varsity by the droves, one would guess that it is Nikes hope that these teams maintain their brand loyalty post varsity transition. 
ESPN is making a similar investment in the sport.  ESPN currently broadcasts over 60 NCAA games a year, plus all MLL games on their various family of networks.  Does anyone think ESPN is able to sell enough in advertising during these games to offset the operational cost of broadcasting them?  Of course not.  The short term goal of ESPNs investment in lacrosse is using it to increase viewership of their newer channels such as ESPNU and ESPN3.com. In ESPNUs case ESPN uses that viewership as leverage against cable providers when negotiated carriage agreements.  But in the long term one would think that ESPN would like to do with lacrosse what they did with college basketball in the 80's, the X-Games in the 90's, and the World Series of Poker in the new millennium...bring it to the masses, and more importantly, make it accepted by the masses.

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