If "it's gotta be the shoes", then it's nearly impossible to ignore women. We love them! After ignoring our gender for three decades, Nike Inc.'s Jordan Brand will start making sneakers for us.

In a vision to expand the brand beyond basketball, Michael Jordan's flagship line will extend to unchartered categories. This expansion will also include gear for weekend warriors and football fans - all with Nike's goal of doubling the brand's sales to $4.5 billion by 2020.

As a one-dimensional brand looks to jump into the female demographic, here are 6 reasons (one for each of MJ's rings) women will prove they "wanna be like Mike":

Nike already opened an all-women store.

To win the hearts of women, Nike opened their first location in Newport Beach, California. This location has all the allure of a Lululemon store and more, including a fitness studio, footwear trials, and bra fitting and pant hemming services. The 6,000-square-foot store will offer yoga classes in the studio, as well as running and training clubs. The company will open a second women's-only store in Shanghai.

Jordan is more influential to women than men.

Yep, you read that correctly. Despite the fact that Jordan hasn't stepped on a basketball court in over 12 years, he is still tremendously popular, even among the ladies. Jordan is known by about 97 percent of women in the U.S., making him the seventh-most influential celebrity for them, according to the Marketing Arm's Celebrity DBI database. Men ranking him 11th. In terms of how female respondents and consumers feel about him, it's virtually identical to how males view him, regardless of age.

Jordan "touched down" in College Football.

Proof he's more than basketball, Jordan took to social media in August to welcome his first football team to the Jordan family, the Michigan Wolverines.

The Wolverines, who signed a $159 million deal--the richest in college sports with Nike back in July, will receive more than $80 million in apparel and nearly $77 million in cash as part of the agreement. What's the rippling affect for women? Aside from the obvious millennial market push, according to the National Football Foundation, almost 40% of college football fans, are women, who will now be exposed to the likes of the gameday fashion every Saturday, while cheering their team to victory.

WNBA is inked exclusively with Nike.

Aside from the Nike and Jordan Brand being endorsed by 322 NBA players, Nike has been a WNBA marketing partner since it's first year, 1997. More often than not, the top draft picks in the WNBA usually sign with Nike coming out of college. Additionally, Nike recently signed an 8-year exclusive partnership with the WNBA, NBA and NBA D-League worth $1 billion. This will end an 11-year partnership Adidas had with the NBA in 2017-a deal that cost Adidas about $400 million, according to the Portland Business Journal. Nike will assume uniform and sponsorship rights that will begin with the 2017-2018 basketball season with product exclusivity through the duration of the contract. These deals will likely boost Nike's revenue and exposure for both men AND women on and off the court.

Performance wear is going nowhere

Street Chic, Athleisure, or the "I look like I'm going to the gym even when I'm NOT going to spin class. Whatever you call it, it's "in" and it's going nowhere. Projections for this market are astronomical through 2020, and the staple accessory is a pair of sneakers.

From hidden wedges, to athletic runners, it's the latest must have shoe for women today, running from a $800 Valentino found at Barney's to a $63 Puma in your local Foot Locker. As a forever competitor with the potential to disrupt this thriving market, let's not forget, Jordan is clutch.

To women, it's all about the shoes.

Nike's sponsorship deal with Michael Jordan began in 1984 giving Nike a great springboard in the US market. And Nike has never looked back. The question they're now pondering is, will women feel the same?

If I could offer a female's perspective to answer both this question, and Spike Lees' question posed to Jordan in the late 1980s in the infamous Nike ad ...

..." to women, YES! It's all about the shoes!"

Published on: Oct 21, 2015
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