Competitive Edge - Sports & Entertainment Marketing News

How Athleta CEO Mary Beth Laughton is taking on Nike by empowering athletes—famous and not


Superstar gymnast Simone Biles announced in April that she was cutting ties with Nike to sign a partnership with Athleta, saying she valued the women’s activewear brand for seeing her as a person, not just an athlete. Two years earlier, Athleta wooed sprinting champion Allyson Felix, who announced she was leaving Nike because it had failed to support her when she was pregnant.

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Discussion Questions:

  1. What is competition?
  2. What is the difference between direct and indirect competition?
  3. How would you describe the competition between Athleta and Nike?
  4. What is competitive advantage?
  5. What competitive advantage might Nike have over Athleta?
  6. What competitive advantage might Athleta have over Nike?
  7. What is product endorsement?
  8. How is Athleta’s approach to athlete endorsement different from Nike? Be prepared to discuss your answers in class.
Chris Lindauer
After working for nearly a decade in professional sports, Chris Lindauer, formed Sports Career Consulting to provide unique sports business education opportunities in and out of the classroom. In the eighteen years (and counting) that followed, Chris has inspired thousands of students to pursue their passions and explore the career of their dreams. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog.


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