Last weekend, we had the chance to visit Nike's Beaverton, Oregon campus (and world headquarters). Honestly, the best way to describe the place is to call it a candy store for sports nerds. Every building is named after a professional athlete (with no apparent reason for why buildings are called what they are) and everything has a story associated with it.
The Mia Hamm building is the largest on the grounds and houses the Innovation Kitchen, where the next big thing in sports tech is dreamed up years in advance. The Nolan Ryan building on the south side contains a 1.5x scale statue of the famous pitcher winding up to throw a ball. The statute is made up entirely of objects taken from Ryan's garage over the years. Whether it's the Steve Prefontaine memorial, the Michael Jordan collection, or the immaculate Ronaldo fields, there's something for just about everyone.
The soccer immersion started in the Tiger Woods center where the presenters went through Nike's history of innovation in the sport. The first Nike (then Blue Ribbon Sports) product to wear the Swoosh was a soccer boot. The lecture continued through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s into the present with stops along the way to detail just how Nike changed the technology that shaped the modern game.
On Nike's campus, we were surrounded by the beautiful game. At the same time as the Nike CTR launch, Beaverton played host to the final for the United States section of The Chance Finals. A number of the country's brightest undiscovered soccer talents took to Ronaldo Field to battle it out for a spot in the world finals in Barcelona later this summer.
The following morning, there was a discussion about all of the details in Nike's products that seem so insignificant but make such a big difference. Most people never take the colors on the heels of boots or the markings on soccer balls into account but there are countless hours of consideration put into each and every decision. The nitty-gritty details of the brand new CTR360 Maestri III were then talked about in length before moving to Neymar's Nike GS.
Finally, the corps that Nike invited to Portland and onto their campus was led out to Ronaldo Field to play-test the brand new boot. Our first impressions were very good, but you'll have to wait until the full review to learn more!