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Reebok’s dive from relevant athletic apparel company to invisible entity hasn’t happened in a vacuum. It’s happened in plain sight. Marred by a lack of creativity and frankly out maneuvered by their rivals, they’ve essentially ceased to exist in any real tangible way with the exception of the occasional retro release or collaboration.

Save for their NFL endorsers (and that’s really just J.J. Watt) and the company’s forays into music (deals with Kendrick Lamar and Adriana Grande for example) they seem to be scraping out a quiet (albeit, lucrative) living at the margins of the shoe game.

However, if you look a bit closer, then seem to have a strategy that will sustain them for a bit with the MMA and CrossFit crowd.

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MMA’s rise in popularity over the last decade has positioned it as a major player in professional sports. It has arguably surpassed hockey, at least in relevance and its imprint on the marketplace is undeniable. Reebok, whether by design or desperation has wedged themselves into the fastest growing sport in the world.

The company has signed several UFC fighters as brand ambassadors, including Bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes. They’re also creating apparel for the fighters and fans through their Reebok Combat Collection and the recently dropped Fight Night Collection. This collection, which dropped earlier in the fall, is full of hoodies, jerseys and walkout apparel. Available in several styles for men and women, the collection is the sport’s latest attempt at full-scale mainstream acceptance. This is all part of their deal signed in 2014, making Reebok the official outfitter of the UFC. Hardcore fans will likely eat it up, but it remains to be seen whether they can entice the average sports fan.

For Reebok of course, there doesn’t seem to be much downside to the affiliation. With essentially nothing to lose, it’s as good a bet as any.

 

Check out one of the brand’s Noble Fight hoodies here.

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posted on 11/27/2017 by Khalid Salaam
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