The Nike Inc. logo is displayed in the window of the Nike by Melrose live concept store in West Hollywood, California, U.S. (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Calls to #BoycottNike Don’t Crack Top Five on the Outrage Meter

(Bloomberg) -- Calls to boycott Nike Inc. over the new partnership with NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick are unlikely to affect the sportswear giant’s bottom line, if social media is any indication.

Research firm M Science analyzed the frequency of the phrase “BoycottNike” on Twitter, as well as tweets that included the words “boycott” and “Nike” over the past two days. Using that as a measure, the Nike furor ranked sixth among the campaigns measured by M Science in the last six years.

Social media registered just 41 percent of the outrage that Starbucks Corp. did last year, when it announced its intention to hire thousands of refugees and displaced immigrants. It also registered slightly below calls to boycott the coffee chain in April after two African-American men were arrested in a Philadelphia store. Starbucks hasn’t seen a negative business effect from either incident.

This week’s firestorm isn’t even the biggest call for a boycott related to Kaepernick. When the NFL announced a year ago that players would be allowed to kneel during the national anthem, boycott mentions spiked well above either Starbucks incident.

Calls for a Nike boycott this week were largely confined to North America, which accounted for just 41 percent of the company’s revenue last fiscal year. M Science, which crunched the numbers through its TickerTags tracking software, also didn’t find a lot of conversation regarding any of Nike’s other brands, including Jordan, which makes up about 10 percent of global revenue.

Nike shares dropped 3.2 percent on Tuesday, the first day of trading after the ad campaign debuted. The stock was up less than 1 percent in trading Wednesday morning.

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