Three leading European football leagues will turn (RED) this weekend as Nike introduces a special edition ball in the leagues' home fixtures to raise awareness of the (NIKE) RED 'Lace Up. Save Lives' partnership.
In a unified show of support for the global initiative, England's Barclays Premier League, Spain's La Liga BBVA and Italy's Serie A TIM will use a special (NIKE)RED ball at all home games over the weekend of March 13th and 14th.
The Nike and (RED) partnership invites people to 'Lace Up. Save Lives' by purchasing a pair of (NIKE)RED laces. One hundred percent of the profits from (NIKE)RED laces is split equally between The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which funds AIDS programs that provide medicine, treatment and services for those living with HIV, and football-based community initiatives that deliver education and understanding around HIV/AIDS prevention.
The (NIKE)RED ball is a specially designed T90 Ascente -- the same make of ball currently used by all three leagues and boasts all of the technological innovations that the players are accustomed to week in week out, but features the (RED) laces graphic on the exterior. These balls are available to buy now for GBP 150 from the nikestore.
Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, said: "The Premier League has enormous global appeal and we are committed to using our reach to raise awareness of this partnership between, Nike, one of our longest serving commercial partners, and (RED). A red ball and red laces are simple ideas, but sometimes those are the best -- the hope is that the profile given through this and the money raised through 'Lace Up, Save Lives' will provide significant impetus and funding to the Global Fund's activities to aid the prevention of HIV/AIDS in Africa."
Susan Smith Ellis, CEO of (RED) says: "Having three of the world's Premier football leagues is a force multiplier for NIKE AND (RED). It raises awareness. It expands our reach. Most important, it benefits those who suffer from AIDS in Africa. We could not be more pleased."
"Nike has a history of elevating global causes through sport. Through the power and appeal of football, this campaign not only highlights the HIV/AIDS issue globally, it has also created a great way to raise much needed funds," said Mark Parker, President & CEO of NIKE, Inc.
On November 30th, 2009, the eve of World AIDS Day, Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal), Denilson (Arsenal), Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan), Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Clint Dempsey (Fulham) and Seol Ki-Hyeon (Fulham) joined U2 front man Bono and Mark Parker at Niketown London to announce the partnership.
The (NIKE)RED Limited Edition Ascente Ball will be available for GBP 150 and 2010 (NIKE)RED Limited Edition Brasil N98 Track Jackets will also be GBP 150 and both will be sold globally from March 3rd. (NIKE)RED products are also now being sold at retail. (NIKE)RED laces are available now at Nike Store locations, key retailers and the FSC SHOP.
The jackets are numbered. A second round of balls will be available again starting in May.