Sports Retailer Runs With Special Issue to Tout Nike Agreement

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Finish Line, Indianapolis, will promote its new partnership with Nike this month by dropping 800,000 copies of its inhouse quarterly magazine SPIKE to its database of customers.

The athletic shoe and apparel retailer recently signed an agreement with Nike making it the exclusive provider of a number of Nike running shoes, apparel items and equipment. The next issue of SPIKE will be called the Running Issue and will highlight the agreement with Nike along with a number of the products it offers exclusively.

A feature article on Steve Prefontaine, a long-distance runner who was the first athlete to be signed to the Nike stable, will be the centerpiece of the issue.

The magazine drop will be accompanied by a TV campaign that will start running on national cable channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, TBS and TNT soon after Feb. 10, when Finish Line expects its subscribers to have received their issues of SPIKE.

"The February issue of SPIKE is not going to totally be dedicated to the agreement with Nike," said Matt Georgi, marketing communications manager at Finish Line. "But we thought it would be a logical move to start promoting the agreement and dedicate the issue to running shoes and apparel."

There is going to be mention of this agreement in the April issue of SPIKE as well, he said, but not as much.

"We will continue to promote the exclusive products in the magazine and the ones that we have a lead time on," Georgi said.

A second commercial will begin airing in March with a third to follow toward the end of summer.

Georgi said there is going to be a Web component for this initiative "up and running by June," but no details were yet available. The campaign will extend to grassroots running events and in-store marketing efforts as well.

Finish Line has 410 retail locations in shopping malls throughout the country. A large portion of the locations are concentrated in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

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