McIlroy to wear New Balance gear at Olympics
Rory McIlroy will be clad in New Balance gear rather than his traditional Nike getup at the Olympics this summer, and Olympic Council or Ireland chief, Pat Hickey, believes the sportswear giant have missed a huge opportunity.
Hickey said the Irish team approached the US brand before McIlroy declared for Ireland asking Nike to design their kit for the games in Rio. And while Hickey says they were dismissed by the brand’s UK branch, he reckons Nike will be kicking themselves that they missed a chance to get their brand on the World No 3 – who is currently under a £69million five-year sponsorship deal with them.
Before Rory decided whether he’d declare for Team GB or Ireland, we put our team gear out to contract,’ Hickey said at the 100 days to Rio presentation in Dublin.
“Just in case he declared for us, we went to Nike in the UK and told them we might have Rory. But they just dismissed us out of hand and now they regret it, I believe.
“I’m told that the Nike guys nearly collapsed when they heard what happened and that they’d missed a golden opportunity.
“Rory’s agent came to us and said, ‘What about Nike?’ And I said, ‘What about them?” They had the opportunity and they missed it.’
New Balance’s Irish kit deal is believed to be costing them somewhere in the region of £1million, which is about what Nike pay McIlroy per month on his current deal.
“It would have been peanuts compared to what they are paying Rory,’ Hickey added.
The 26-year-old will still be able to use his Nike clubs and footwear at the tournament as those fall under ‘technical equipment’, but that will be the only Nike branding on the Northern Irishman.
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