What you learn from talking to the company and the analysts who cover it is that it's a process.
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For instance, by league rules, teams can only change designs once every five years. So, Nike needs to sell into the whole market right away but can't design everything they might want to right away.
And as they design the jerseys on the field and try to sell them to the consumer, Nike also has to begin the design process with every team in the league.
"We work directly with teams and ownership in terms of how they want to present themselves: on their field, their colors, their branding," said Van Horne, who has been with Nike for 22 years. "We work hand in hand with them in that process."
At first glance, it all seems like it should be linear—clothe the players, sell it in stores. But it's not.
The players need the best possible equipment and apparel. Consumers want cool things they can afford. That's why Nike varies the prices points. For jerseys, the closest to the real thing will cost you over $300. But you can also get official jerseys for less than half that number.