• Retail Dive

Nike offers workout app for free as COVID-19 keeps people indoors


  • Nike dropped the subscription fee for its NTC Premium service that provides streaming workout videos, training programs and expert tips from trainers, the sportswear giant announced in a blog post. NTC Premium includes its Nike App, the Nike Running Club (NRC) app, the Nike Training Club (NTC) app, social channels, nike.com and its "Trained" podcast.

  • NTC Premium, which is only available in the U.S., has a library of more than 185 workouts ranging in duration from 15 to 60 minutes. The workouts include bodyweight-only sessions, yoga classes, targeted training programs and full-equipment workouts for all fitness levels. Nike on Monday added content about mindset, movement, nutrition, recovery and sleep to its social media channels, website and Nike App, per the announcement.

  • In addition, Nike this week launched a campaign on social media that fits current themes of social distancing and self-isolation. Its revamped creative includes a new slogan, "Play inside, play for the world," along with corresponding hashtags. The company also donated $15 million to help fight the pandemic, Footwear News reported.


Without mentioning the coronavirus by name, Nike is offering its workout and health content for free as millions of people seek ways to maintain their exercise and diet regimens during the COVID-19 crisis. Health authorities have urged people to stay indoors and practice social distancing while major gym chains have suspended operations to help suppress the spread of the coronavirus. By making its content freely accessible, Nike can reach more potential customers, showcase its content and support positive associations with its brand among consumers. The company may be able to convert those consumers into paying subscribers when the crisis ebbs.

Nike is among the brands that are offering free workout content to help health-minded consumers to maintain their exercise routines. Women's lifestyle site Popsugar last week announced it would release a workout app earlier than planned while also making its "Active by Popsugar" website free to use. Peloton, the maker of exercise equipment, this week started offering a 90-day trial of its subscription workout app as gyms suspend operations. The offer follows its decision to close all of its store showrooms until March 29, although the company continues to produce and livestream workout classes for existing members, USA Today reported.

Nike is the latest major brand to launch a campaign to address the coronavirus while maintaining an inspirational message that resonates with worried consumers. Hyundai and Toyota quickly edited planned ads to show support for both employees and customers. Ford and Guinness received positive feedback from their ads that mentioned the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Coors and KFC canceled campaigns that were suddenly deemed out of step with the current public mood. These changes come as 43% of people surveyed by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) say they want to see messaging that is reassuring from trusted brands.

As a global brand with a network of 1,100 stores, Nike has contended with the coronavirus in dozens of countries for the past few months. The company in early February closed about half of its stores in China, where the virus originated, to safeguard its employees. Foot traffic had declined at stores that had remained open, while digital sales remained strong, according to the company. As the pandemic spread to the U.S., Nike was among the retailers that announced the temporary shutdown of stores. The company on Tuesday will release its earnings report for the quarter ended on Feb. 29, and host a conference call with analysts. It's likely that management provide more information about how the pandemic is affecting operations worldwide, and perhaps indicate whether it will extend the duration of U.S. store closures beyond March 27.

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