Wednesday, March 9, 2016

It’s a New World in the Sneaker War

High level grassroots basketball – which is incorrectly referred to as 'AAU' -- features three top circuits funded by shoe companies: Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. All three companies have begun a substantial push to attract talent at a younger age groups with NIKE introducing the MADE Hoops League, Under Armour The Proving Grounds, and Adidas beginning sponsorship of the NYBL.  In many minds the structure of grassroots ball has improved greatly over the last few years with the birth of these middle school leagues to coincide with Nike's EYBL tour, The UA Association and Adidas' Uprising Gauntlet. The bottom-line is those three companies essentially vie for players they hope will blossom into pros who can eventually sell shoes.
In the past few years in the DMV; we have seen many teams rehashed as they trade one tennis shoe for another; Baltimore Elite (formerly NIKE) now Adidas, DC Blue Devils (formerly NIKE) now Under Armour, as has been the history for many years.  The “new” Baltimore United Group is a mixture as well of former clubs that held “deals” at different levels that, shall we say saw power in numbers and moved forward with the Under Armour brand.  Let us not forget one of the more intriguing power plays of 2016 the merger of former Adidas brand DC Thunder with the Baltimore based Jordan Brand/NIKE Team Melo.
Yet it has been several years since a new upstart group; a fresh face to the shoe game; where the services to the top players within the DMV will be able to impact both the middle school and the high school market. 
New World Basketball Academy now formally maintains a sponsorship relationship with Adidas and the impact that this will have will most certainly impact the already competitive environment of the DMV.  New World has teams and formal rosters from the 2nd grade all the way through grade 9 and is actively building.  They have a contingent of coaches, staff, trainers, and support personnel that immediately allow them to reach multiple players and prospects within the market.  They have experience at the high level high school and Prep School arena as well as college relationships, facility access, and young leadership with a business mindset and hunger combined with the requisite tools to be a major player.
New World is set up better today than a lot of organizations who have been around for several years and the impact will be two fold.  Their current relationships and immense opportunity available there will be major selling points and of course the “new” access for kids in the DC market to compete on a major circuit that part sells itself.  Again with DC Thunder out the picture New World are “those guys” and without question with the aforementioned attributes they will have success and players will flock.  Its has been a while since anyone truly had an opportunity to impact the area balance of power substantially; New World is that group without question and those that know, know it and are keenly aware.   
If you still wonder how competitive does it get between the companies and programs? Consider the recent example of Under Armour's Elite 24 event. The Elite 24 has had a monopoly on the end of the summer calendar for a few years and is considered THE PREMIER EVENT  each year – The Elite 24 brings every top player to New York City for what amounts to a TELEVISED OUTDOOR ALL-STAR GAME. At least that was the case until last summer when Nike decided it didn't want its kids seen in the UA logo.
Nike created an event seemingly on a whim that overlapped with Elite 24 to keep kids away from Under Armour. Best yet, they put the event in the Bahamas. It worked: top recruits Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum skipped the Elite 24 event to attend Nike's event, as did most of the top NIKE prospect on the High School side.  But Middle Schoolers went untouched and are now competing with impunity in the Elite 24 events without a competitor on the NIKE side….but wait for it one of these companies will jump in soon as they continue to do.
There won’t be any overlapping of New World, but the new competitor in the market is one that must be paid attention to as any group with the backing of a brand not only can change the game but can do so very quickly.  Congratulations to the New World group and congratulations to the DMV for developing a plethora of talent that continues to attract attention and ultimately give more kids and opportunity.
More information can be found on the New World Basketball Academy by visiting:

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