Zion's Nike Mishap Had Little Impact on Shoe Sales, Data Show

(Bloomberg) -- Duke University basketball star Zion Williamson’s sneaker mishap last week -- an embarrassment for Nike Inc. at perhaps the worst possible time -- appears to be having little impact on the company’s sales.

Online orders for Nike products rose in each of the three days after Williamson’s injury, according to digital-commerce researcher Edison Trends, which collects data from more than 400 online vendors.

Zion's Nike Mishap Had Little Impact on Shoe Sales, Data Show

It’s an early, if incomplete, confirmation of what many analysts said the day after the sneaker came apart -- that it was embarrassing and got a lot of attention on Twitter, but won’t materially impact the world’s largest sportswear company. Nike stock dipped as much as 1.8 percent after the incident, before rebounding. It’s now up a tad since the game.

Projected to be the top pick in this year’s National Basketball Association draft, Williamson hasn’t played since his left shoe came apart as he tried to change direction less than a minute into Duke’s loss to rival North Carolina on Feb. 20. He’s expected to return to the court soon from a knee sprain.

The real impact for Nike, however, may come in a few months. Williamson wears Nike now because of Duke’s deal with the company. When he turns pro, he will become one of the most sought-after endorsers. If the injury leads Williamson to sign elsewhere, that would be a meaningful loss for the Beaverton, Oregon-based company.

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