Drake is said to be negotiating a deal with Adidas, according to ESPN and Nice Kicks Nick DePaula, who’s known for his solid industry contacts. “Can confirm that Drake and his team are far along in negotiations with Adidas on a comprehensive endorsement deal. More to come…,” wrote DePaula on Twitter today (February 22, 2018).
Can confirm that Drake and his team are far along in negotiations with Adidas on a comprehensive endorsement deal. More to come… pic.twitter.com/oSyoUSStA2
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) February 22, 2018
We reached out to some sources and did receive confirmation that a deal is being negotiated. That said, before his deal with Nike, Virgil Abloh was said to be working on a deal with Adidas that was upended because Kanye West didn’t want to share the brand platform. There are also rumors West shut down talks with Jerry Lorenzo, who is now with Nike.
Still, one could see where West would be okay with Adidas signing Drake if only because Drake as a designer isn’t a creative threat to West, plus the move has the added benefit of irritating Nike and Jay-Z, with whom West currently has a frosty relationship.
While Drake’s ability to influence buying decisions isn’t as powerful as West (or Abloh or A$AP Rocky), Jordan’s collaborative projects with OVO were always well received and did well even when other Retro began to stall out in 2017.
Drake has worked in partnership with Jordan through his OVO label since 2014. His latest effort with the brand is a Jordan Retro 8, which was released as part of NBA All Star weekend on February 16, 2018. (See a list of all his efforts with Jordan on Highsnobiety.)
In general, he also wears a lot of Nike shoes. In his “God’s Plan” visual, he’s sporting a pair of Nike’s new Air Max 270 kicks. And Drake sitting court side at an NBA game in a pair of Nike Off-White shoes is nothing to scoff at in terms of an ability to generate social media impressions.
Drake leaving Nike is a loss though not enough that the headline will cause the stock to drop. Drake leaving is mainly problematic because his level of popularity combined with the legitimacy of OVO as a label (which ironically was strengthened by Jordan) cannot be replaced. Kendrick Lamar is an amazing artist, but he’s not as popular as Drake and he doesn’t have a stand-alone label. Tyler the Creator has a legit label, but he’s not a top 20 rapper.
Whether or not Drake can help Adidas depends a lot on how the partnership is handled. One buyer source said he might be able to revive Adidas’s floundering classic shoe business, but his arrival at Adidas is “too little too late” for the Ultra Boost franchise.
The reality is, this is a loss for Nike but it hardly matters because at the moment the brand has much bigger fish to fry (the NBA license, the upcoming World Cup, reviving Jordan) and will barely miss a step as it bids Drizzy adieu and queues up new Off-White launches and preps for its efforts with Jerry Lorenzo.
Meanwhile, Adidas no doubt spent a ton of money to sign Drake and the partnership has all the potential in the world, but a lot will depend on how Adidas rolls it out. As well, even if the brand officially announces the partnership tomorrow, it will be at least six more months before the product hits.
Smart sneakerheads knew something monumental occurred when West signed with Adidas, but in the case of Drake, the outlook is much harder to predict.