Jordan brand becomes Nike’s strongest division with $7 billion in revenue

BY Preta Peace Namasaba July 3, 2024 2:29 PM EDT
Michael Jordan. Photo credit: South China Morning Post

Michael Jordan is once again saving Nike. As a rookie, he chose to work with the lesser-known brand over offers from major competitors like Adidas and Converse. He became the face of their basketball division and has since dominated the basketball sneaker marketplace. Four decades later, the Jordan Brand is Nike’s strongest performer, generating $7 billion in revenue.

The revenue of the Jordan brand has doubled since 2020 due to its expansion into more women’s gear, non-basketball items, and international sales. Although its “performance” basketball shoe has not been very profitable over the last decade, the “retro” business has made up for the decline. Nike has also signed rising NBA stars like Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, and Jayson Tatum to promote the Jordan brand. According to Nike’s 2024 fiscal report, Jordan Brand’s revenue increased to $7 billion from $6.6 billion in 2023.

Despite modest expectations for Nike’s fourth-quarter earnings report, the company underperformed. Nike’s full-year revenues were $51.4 billion, slightly up from $51.2 billion the previous year. However, fourth-quarter revenues of $12.6 billion were down 2%. The standout performer for the fiscal year-end results was the Jordan Brand, which achieved an impressive 6% sales growth and was the strongest performer among Nike’s divisions.

In 1984, Nike recognized Jordan’s potential and signed the rookie star to an endorsement contract. The first Air Jordan shoes were released the following year and were an instant success, bringing in $130 million in the brand’s first year. By 1990, Jordan products generated around $200 million annually for Nike. In 1997, Nike created ‘Brand Jordan,’ a separate division for Jordan’s sneaker and apparel lines, which would later become known as Jordan Brand.

The Jordan Brand has since eclipsed expectations, becoming an unbounded global phenomenon. Jordan reportedly earns 5% of the brand’s revenue with his most recent annual royalty payment from Nike amounting to $260 million. The six-time NBA champion ranks as the highest-paid athlete of all time and became the first billionaire in 2015. He has earned over $2.5 billion in career earnings from salaries and endorsements. Jordan reaped big from his $175 million investment in the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets when the team sold for $3 billion last year.