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Inside the Shoe: A Look at Nike Adapt BB with Eric Avar, VP of Design at Nike

For Eric Avar and Nike, the Nike Adapt BB is more than just a technological breakthrough, it marks the company’s shift from footwear to firmware.

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Modern apparel companies aren’t just making shoes and t-shirts anymore. Nike is one brand looking to stay on the forefront of the tech world as well as the apparel world. One prominent example is the Nike Adapt BB shoe, which can adjusted remotely via the Nike Adapt app.

Nike VP of Design Eric Avar joined Front Office Sports CEO Adam White recently to chat about the shoe, Nike’s latest ventures into the tech realm and the company’s continued dedication to serving the needs of the athlete.

On Nike’s continued growth, particularly within the design department (0:36):

“On one hand, there’s been a massive amount of change. Just how big Nike has gotten, how many designers and experts that we have. But one thing that’s always remained consistent is the design process and working with athletes and listening to the voice of the athlete and solving problems for athletes. So as technology, materials, new methods of make and manufacturing all change and evolve, that fundamental process of working with athletes always stays the same. It’s what drives us.”

On designing the Adapt BB shoe (3:50):

“It always starts with the classic adage that form follows function … this iterative, collaborative design process back and forth between designers and engineers. So that dictated a lot of the overall form of the product.

Using a new lace and creating a new lace architecture and system and using new materials this quadfit material all of these things came together as a holistic design from a performance standpoint. From an overall aesthetic standpoint, it’s really important that products have a point of inspiration, they have a story that’s embedded into the products. We wanted to make it simple, approachable, and have a sense of magic to it and for it to be fun.

I personally pull a lot of inspiration from nature. So we pulled from nature a little bit, just the classic metaphor of a butterfly, so we incorporated that into the product. That was part of the story: a metaphor to represent change and adaptation that we thought was relevant for the product.”

On the Adapt’s place in the company’s metamorphosis moving forward (7:50):

“Even going back to 28 years ago when I started and going all the way back to Bowerman working with athletes, it was always just about working with athletes and solving problems for athletes. I think that will always be the driving force behind what we do.

But as technology and material technology and manufacturing technology advances we’ll just be incorporating and making use of these new technologies, but always coming back to solving problems for athletes.”

Does technology make the job easier, harder, or more fun? (9:07):

“Probably all of the above, quite honestly. At any given moment, it might be more of a challenge, but it creates more opportunities and any challenge is ultimately exciting. It’s a problem to solve and I think that inspires a lot of designers and engineers.”

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Logo Love Episode Two: Evolution of Brand

In episode two, we dive into how the aesthetic and overall brands of Minor League Baseball teams shift and change over time.

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(*ISM Connect is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

In the second episode of Logo Love, Jason Klein and Casey White of Brandiose Studios discuss how the aesthetic and overall brands of Minor League Baseball teams shift and change over time.

Teams in minor leagues don’t want to get stuck in a rut using the same branding that they have used for decades. For that reason, they’ll sometimes shake things up with a rebrand or temporary branding to draw more fan attention. For those in charge of these rebrands, it’s all about telling a fun and authentic story that represents the team’s hometown.

Edited highlights appear below.

On the inception of “What Could Have Been” promotional nights in MiLB (0:10)

Klein: “Every Minor League Baseball rebrand usually has a name the team contest. There’s always a second place: a team name that didn’t make the cut. A couple of years ago we were collaborating with this team in Bowling Green and had this idea…what if for one night one only, the second-place name became the identity for the team. In Bowling Green, they have the largest underground cave system in North America. Inside the cave, there is this blind prehistoric cave shrimp…so we thought, for one night only, what if we were the blind cave shrimp?…That set off a new wave of promotional nights in Minor League Baseball.”

WATCH MORE: Logo Love Episode One: Logo History

On expanding a team’s brand to represent the food of the hometown (1:25)

Klein: “[What Could Have Been Nights] ushered in this thought of ‘what are some other ways that we can celebrate our hometowns?’ There are foods that are unique to our hometowns. In Staten Island with New York City, the pizza capital of the world, we thought ‘is there a way that we can celebrate pizza?’…So this is the Pizza Rats, which is an idea that we came up with for the Staten Island Yankees. People in New York went crazy for the Pizza Rats hat. Then we had the thought to deliver the hats in custom Pizza Rats pizza boxes and each order comes with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper.”

On Copa de la Diversión (3:12)

Klein: “So much of baseball history is Latin American. [The sport] is such a part of Latin American culture. How do we expand our audience and celebrate all of the things that we love about Latin culture?…The Copa program is a great initiative where a handful of Minor League Baseball teams each celebrate a different part of Latin culture. A lot of it is hyper local as well.

White: “The big thing about creating any sort of beloved brand logo or merchandise is authenticity of story. When it comes to Copa especially, we really make sure we do our research and we interact with the local latin community there. They’re deeply involved in the creative process and making sure that the story is authentic.”

On the kind of stories MiLB teams should be telling with their branding (6:06)

White: “Ultimately, it all has to come back to fun. Minor League fun. We could tell the story of how many people died at a fort in San Antonio, which is true and authentic, but it’s not fun…but flying chanclas? Flying chanclas are fun.”

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Logo Love Episode One: Logo History

Welcome to the first edition of Logo Love, a series where we dive into the unique world of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) logos and team names. 

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(*ISM Connect is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

Welcome to the first edition of Logo Love, a series where we dive into the unique world of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) logos and team names.

Jason Klein and Casey White, Partners at Brandiose Studios, have worked for more than 100 professional sports franchises to create branding materials to tell the team’s story to the fans. They sat down with each other to talk about the history of some of the interesting team names in MiLB, their methods for conceptualizing logos, and more.

On naming teams in the early days of professional baseball (0:10)

Klein: “The history of naming in Minor League Baseball goes back to the Civil War. The Civil War had just wrapped up and during the war, they had these imported German cigars that everybody got accustomed to. So when the war ended and everybody went back to their hometowns, in Wheeling, West Virginia, they became a cigar rolling community…that was really special to Wheeling, West Virginia, so when baseball came to town, they were naturally the Wheeling Stogies. The Wheeling Stogies would play the Glen Rapids Furniture Makers. That stood as much for baseball as it did for the pride of the industry of each of those towns.”

On finding stories to tell through logos (2:00)

Klein: “What Minor League Baseball is all about is taking the story of all of our great American hometowns and then fusing them into this fun universe where you just want to lose yourself for a night. That’s what’s so great about what we do.”

White: “When we’re coming up with a name, I would say that there are main three paradigms that we use. First, ‘is it a fun story?’. Number two: ‘is it just fun?’ Does everyone want to talk about it? Are kids going to love it? Number three is heart and authenticity. We want to create stuff that lasts a long time. We’re always trying to find more of those long term stories.”

On what it means to create a brand, as opposed to just a logo (3:00)

Klein: “The great sports brands of our time are more than just a logo. There’s often theme songs or there’s rituals…traditions. We think deeper than what would just be a cool logo or what would sell. What would be something cool that we could create experientially that defines that brand that transcends logo.”

White: “The brand, the name, and the logo become an abstraction in people’s minds. We like to think of it like a box. In that box, you put all of your memories and all of your habits, and all of your relationships that you form [through the team]. The Yankees logo for example, of course it represents this incredible lineage of winning, but it also represents Babe Ruth and Joe Dimaggio, and moments like 9/11 where everyone rallied around…what it meant to be from New York. It becomes this box that everyone puts their memories in and we’re trying to make the prettiest box.”

READ MORE: Minor League Baseball Showcasing Deeper Partnership Connections With Hot Dogs

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Shot Callers: Inside The Rebranding of Dignity Health Sports Park With AEG

Front Office Sports CEO Adam White sat down with AEG Worldwide and Dignity Health to discuss recent changes to the home of the LA Galaxy and LA Chargers.

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(*AEG Global Partnerships is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

Earlier this year, the home of the LA Galaxy in Carson, California became Dignity Health Sports Park. In addition to housing the Major League Soccer club and (temporarily) the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers, the facility is also home to a tennis stadium, a track and field facility, and a velodrome.

Front Office Sports CEO Adam White sat down with a handful of representatives from the stadium, AEG, and Dignity Health to discuss rebranding the stadium, new additions to the facility, and being a benefactor and “corporate citizen” for Southern California.

READ MORE: Inside AEG’s Four Consecutive Years of Record Revenue Results

On working with the Galaxy and the potential of the facility (1:11)

Nick Baker, COO at AEG: “[Major League Soccer] is really exciting, really legitimate, and the growth just continues to compound. We’re really thankful that the LA Galaxy continues to be a premier part of that. This is a 125 acre facility that is a world class training facility for soccer and tennis. We’ve got an indoor velodrome. We’ve got community programs that are taking place here from graduations to private events.”

“Our CEO Dan Beckerman continues to invest dollars into this facility which allows us to lure top events, allows us to accommodate an NFL team for a number of seasons as a temporary home and it allows new partners like Dignity Health to see the upgrades as an opportunity for them to deliver the message.”

Katie Pandolfo General Manager at Dignity Health Sports Park: “It’s not just the Galaxy and that was one of the very important pieces of picking ‘Sports Park’ instead of saying a stadium or just a center or an arena. Sports Park really encompasses everything that we do here.”

Julie Sprengel, Senior Vice President at Dignity Health: “People don’t always think of this Sports Park as everything it has to offer having the velodrome and the tennis court and all of those things that people don’t really stop to think about.

Why did this partnership make sense for Dignity Health? (2:33)

Pandolfo: “The first thing that we do is we go back to the client, we go back to Dignity Health and say ‘what’s important to you?’ and ‘how do we make this partnership work?’ and ‘what are your key objectives?’

Jaime Cabrera, Senior Vice President, Advantage: “We don’t want to just slap our name on a building. Dignity didn’t want to do that. We knew that we needed a vehicle to be able to tell the human kindness story. That was really the driving factor. Where can we tell that story? Where are we not just getting lost in a sea of logos? Where can we do things?…We knew that a partnership with AEG and with The Galaxy was really what the brand needed to reach the community.”

Why a sports partnership for Dignity Health? (5:01)

Sprengel: “We have six hospitals in Southern California and The Galaxy fans live in those communities. We want to be a part of those fan’s lives when they are well and we want to be part of their community.”

Looking forward to the future (5:44)

Sprengel: “We’re looking forward to activations like taking care of the homeless or having youth programs at the hospitals, food and nutrition…There is all of what we call the social determinants of health which is really about where people live, eat, work, grow. We want to make AEG and LA Galaxy a part of that.”

(*AEG Global Partnerships is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

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