Rival footwear brands New Balance and Skechers both want a share of the basketball market. New Balance has a head start; they have partnered with NBA stars for years. Skechers more recently launched their first line of technical basketball shoes, and established a partnership with two NBA players in late 2023.

Despite their disparate timelines, both Skechers and New Balance are attracting positive attention from NBA fans.

Skechers launches a basketball line and gains two NBA brand ambassadors

Ahead of the 2023-2024 NBA season, Skechers launched their first line of technical basketball shoes in October 2023. To generate excitement around the launch, Skechers partnered with two prominent NBA players –  Julius Randle and Terance Mann. These new Skechers ambassadors will be the first NBA players to train and compete in Skechers shoes.

Using data from QuestBrand by The Harris Poll, we can see how this product launch and partnership impacted consumer brand sentiment. After the October announcement, Skechers’ positive purchase consideration significantly increased among NBA fans.

Skechers Positive Purchase Consideration – US Adults VS NBA Fans – 12 Week Moving Average

QuestBrand. 10/1/22-2/29/24. Base: General population of US adults, n=8,708. Base: NBA fans, n=2,449.

In addition to this jump in consideration, Skechers saw increases across several emotional attributes. After October 25th, NBA fans more often described the Skechers brand as “customer-centric” (+7.2), a “good value” (+7.0), and “wholesome” (+6.3). 

Skechers Emotional Attributes Among NBA Fans – Pre/Post Partnership with NBA Stars

QuestBrand. Base: NBA fans. Pre: 6/1/23-10/24/23, n=535. Post:10/25/23-2/29/24, n=426.

This is the start of a long-term investment in basketball with more player partnerships, which is essential for our growth strategy and vision. We’re launching in the three largest stand-alone basketball markets—the U.S., China, and the Philippines—with expansion to more regions expected in the future.” – Michael Greenberg, President at Skechers

New Balance steadily grows in the percentage of NBA fans who would “absolutely consider” purchasing from the brand

The graph below tracks the percentage of US adults and NBA fans who would “absolutely consider” purchasing from New Balance from July 2021 – the end of February 2024. In contrast to Skechers’ very recent foray into NBA partnerships, the timeline below highlights several key NBA partnerships that New Balance has fostered over the past few years (and this list is by no means exhaustive).

New Balance Purchase Consideration “Absolutely” – US Adults VS NBA Fans – 12 Week Moving Average

QuestBrand. 7/1/21-2/29/24. Base: General population of US adults, n=18,875. Base: NBA fans, n=5,185.

Because of New Balance’s continuous marketing efforts with NBA players, it makes sense that NBA fans have had a long history of positively considering the New Balance brand. In contrast, Skechers’ positive consideration only increased among NBA fans at the end of 2023 with the launch of their basketball line and first partnerships.

If Skechers continues to grow and market their basketball line, their consideration graph may grow to mirror New Balances’ consistently high consideration score among NBA fans a few years down the line.


Catherine Ake

Senior Marketing and Content Strategist

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