Shot Callers: Eric Mastalir of Nike

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(Sports Tech Tokyo is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

Sports brands face a unique challenge in an increasingly technological world. Just because people love their phones and computers, however, doesn’t mean they can’t still fall in love with sport and physical fitness in today’s landscape.

Eric Mastalir is the Senior Director of Global Strategic Alliances at Nike. Mastalir spoke with Front Office Sports at Sports Tech Tokyo about reaching younger demographics, embracing new platforms and strategies, and how personalization helps further Nike’s mission of getting people moving.

Edited highlights appear below:

On how to market to a generation that doesn’t play outside (0:51)

Mastalir: “As we try to tackle movement and getting kids more physically active, we see esports and gaming as a legitimate athletic pursuit. The way that we encourage movement is actually outside of games, so our recent announcement around our League of Legends partnership in China allows us to actually track movement outside of your gaming environment and reward that with gaming skins and emotes. We have to rights to sell physical and digital products throughout their platform. We can’t say that it’s illegitimate anymore. Gaming is massively popular so we want to insert ourselves into that in a natural way.”

SEE MORE: Shot Callers: Charlie Greenwood, Founder of Triple Scout

On “gamifying” and augmented reality being a part of Nike’s strategy moving forward (1:38)

Mastalir: “There’s no denying that we’ve got to be in the place where our customers are and meet them. So I think AR is important. Most importantly I think we’re just trying to figure out solves for issues that affect people daily. How do we use our relationship with Apple to affect someone’s life? How do we encourage them to keep track of what they eat, when they sleep, things around mindfulness and nutrition and recovery are important to us.”

What’s the next frontier that Nike wants to tackle? (5:14)

Mastalir: “It really is just trying to think about best in class services. Nike can’t be everything to everyone, so we know there are third-party partnerships, which I run for us. So anything that’s not Nike related, we’re trying to go out and work with Head Space, for instance, and give you meditation content that actually improves your life. There are partners like that that we want to bring to our platform to help people be the best that they can be.”

SEE MORE: Shot Callers: Unmish Parthasarathi, Founder of Picture Board

What made him want to join Nike and work in his current role? (5:44)

Mastalir: “I came to Nike because of a few things. I believe in our mission. I believe in making people more active, making sport a daily habit, and trying to get people moving more. So I combine that with my love of the brand and my history with the brand. Now when I’m running strategic alliances for us, I just see it as an on road to getting people more active with Nike, with our services, with our products. Essentially falling in love with sport again.”