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Nike is taking its famous Air Jordans beyond basketball in a new partnership with the Paris Saint-Germain soccer club, bringing its namesake sneaker to more countries and more sports.
The deal is the latest of Jordan's efforts to move beyond its foundation in North American basketball. The athletic giant is looking to lean on the brand's name to break regional and sport barriers as domestic sales lag behind international.
"The Jordan brand represents premium craftsmanship — obviously [Michael Jordan] represents greatness — we take that same ethos and mindset and apply it to other sports," said David Creech, vice president of design for the Jordan brand.
The company distributed some of its new co-branded gear to a few media influencers to create some buzz online ahead of the formal Sept. 14 release. Singer Justin Timberlake was spotted in a black-and-white Paris Saint-Germain and Jordan jacket in early July.
Rapper Travis Scott wore one of the tanks while performing at a festival in France in late August.
Jordan products, which include sneakers and apparel for both women and men, generated nearly $3 billion of Nike's $36 billion in sales fiscal 2018. Over the past three years, it's grown 7 percent.
Still, the brand in the U.S. has become more saturated. It has already begun to sponsor sports teams beyond basketball in the U.S., such as the University of Michigan's football team.
"North America is the biggest region, but the reality is outside of North America it's growing faster," said Larry Miller, president of the Jordan Brand.
The ticket to global growth is soccer, the world's most popular sport, according to Nielsen survey data. The sport commands serious interest from more than 40 percent of the population, the data provider recently reported.
Paris Saint-Germain, known as PSG, is the soccer team for Paris and the Saint-Germain commune. The team contributed a number of its star players to France's victorious World Cup team earlier this year.
Nike sponsors 15 of the top 25 all-star soccer players around the world, including world-famous footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Italian club Juventus, according to data collected by investment bank Macquarie.
Nike also has sponsorship deals with PSG athletes Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.
PSG has long been a Nike team. Now, though, team members will sport its Jordan apparel during matches in its "Champions League" games as part of the multiyear contract. They will start wearing the gear on Sept. 18 when they face off against Liverpool.
The black, white and red collection combines the Jordan "Jumpman" logo with the PSG circle. One pair of sneakers has "75" sewn into it, a nod to the Paris postal code.
The collection also has items such as basketball jerseys and sweatshirts that consumers can buy.
Nike executives said they are confident the Jordan name extends well to Paris, where it already has a Jordan dedicated store in the Bastille. The brand has been involved in France's Quai 54 basketball tournament.
PSG may not be the last such deal. Paris is just one of a number of so-called "key cities" for Jordan. London, Paris and Berlin are also key targets for growth, Miller said. Other important regions include Asia Pacific, Latin America and China.
"It's just another opportunity to grow our fan base and grow the Jordan brand into sports and opportunities that didn't exist before," Creech said.