Daily Insights

How Active Are Activewear Brands in the Fight Against COVID-19

By: Anshuman Rathore | Apr 07, 2020

With many countries under lockdown and more than three billion people under home isolation, the activewear industry has taken a major blow as it depends on athletes, sports, and fitness activities to stay afloat. Brands like Nike, Under Armour, New Balance, Patagonia, Abercrombie, and REI are some of the brands that have closed their respective stores in the affected areas.

Now, activewear brands are gearing up to lend a hand in the fight against COVID-19. The leading brands in the industry are not only pledging monetary relief, but are helping people stay fit and active at home too. Here are the efforts made by top industry players:

Nike

Nike Foundation and Nike have made a combined commitment of $15 million in the cause against COVID-19. According to Nike’s website, part of this donation has come from Nike co-founder Phil Knight, executive vice-chairman Mark Parker, and President and CEO John Donahoe contributing a combined amount of $10 million. The statement published on Nike’s website reads “NIKE, Inc. Chairman Emeritus and co-founder Phil Knight and wife Penny; NIKE, Inc. Executive Chairman of the Board Mark Parker and wife Kathy; and NIKE, Inc. President and CEO John Donahoe and wife Eileen, are personally donating a combined $10 million to the following: $1 million to the Oregon Food Bank, $2 million to the Oregon Community Recovery Fund created by the Oregon Community Foundation, and $7 million to Oregon Health & Science University to improve state-wide care coordination in Oregon, increase patient access, and ramp up operational readiness for expanded diagnostic testing for COVID-19.”  “To further support communities where NIKE employees live and work, we will also support a two-to-one match for any donations to support COVID-19 responses locally, nationally and internationally.”

 To keep up with its legacy of helping athletes train and stay fit even in these adverse circumstances, Nike announced in a blog post that it has dropped the subscription fee for its NTC Premium service (NTC comprises Nike App, Nike Running Club app (NRC), Nike Training Club(NTC), Nike.com, social channels, and Nike’s award-winning podcast, TRAINED) and are now available for free. NTC offers studio-style streaming workouts, body weight training programs, and expert tips from elite Nike trainers.

Lululemon

Like many other brands, Lululemon has also announced the closure of its stores and assured the hourly workforce of regular payment at least through April 5. Lululemon announced on its site the creation of the Lululemon Ambassador Relief Fund $2 million global grant program to support its ambassador studio owners. To stay connected to its customers and help them maintain their fitness, Lululemon has also started posting workout routines on its Instagram page. Workout routines are posted a week in advance and then followed by Instagram stories.

Under Armour

The Baltimore-based footwear brand has closed all the stores in the affected regions and has pledged $2 million to provide community support for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a press release on its website, Under Armour stated that $1 million will be donated to Feeding America to support hunger relief efforts as a result of school closures and quarantines. The other half of the donation in the form of products and money will be provided to Good Sport, a non-profit organization committed to providing footwear, apparel, and equipment to the kids in need to encourage physical activity. “It’s our mission at Under Armour to make athletes better, and in these unprecedented times we are even more committed to providing our communities with essential resources,” said CEO, Patrik Frisk. “Through access to nutrition and fitness, we want to support the health and wellness goals that are being challenged at this time.” Moreover, to raise funds and awareness about community fitness building, Under Armour is encouraging people to take on home fitness challenges via Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun apps. The brand is also posting home workout videos by professional trainers on its Instagram page.

New Balance

New Balance announced that its manufacturing units will now be converted into making masks. ”The global COVID-19 health crisis has called on individuals and organizations to bring their expertise and resources to solve new and extraordinary challenges. New Balance has engaged a portion of its skilled and innovative U.S. manufacturing workforce to develop face masks to address the significant demand for these supplies,” said a statement. Moreover, the brand has also pledged a donation of $2 million to help communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.