Nike has very long been synonymous with quality sneakers and other sports activities equipment, but now it looks that the business could be extending its model into a further location — digital media — thanks to the rumored acquisition of a Seattle-dependent startup.

TechCrunch has discovered from a source that the multibillion-dollar sporting activities huge has obtained TraceMe, which initially constructed an application to enable followers interact with sports stars and other stars in advance of later on pivoting into a provider named Tally, a system aimed at athletics teams, broadcasters and venues to assist fans engage all around sporting gatherings.

TraceMe was originally launched by Russell Wilson, the champion quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, who was the executive chairman of the startup. The company experienced lifted at the very least $9 million from traders that provided the Seattle-based Madrona Undertaking Group and Bezos Expeditions (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ fund), as effectively as YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley and others, and it was past valued, in 2017, at $60 million.

Our resource reported the offer shut in the latest months and that “it was a very good outcome” for the firm and buyers. It associated both of those IP — the major desire, the supply reported, was in TraceMe’s tech relatively than Tally’s — and the group.

In fact, at the very least eight of them, together with TraceMe’s CEO Jason LeeKeenan, an ex-Hulu executive, are now listing Nike as their spot of employment. LeeKeenan describes his new function as the head of Nike Seattle. Some others on the team now have taken roles that involve software engineers, head of item and products designers.

No 1 at TraceMe and Nike that we contacted has responded to our requests for comment, but just a minor when in the past GeekWire (which possible experienced the same idea we did) released a article noting that it had a resource that confirmed the offer.

The athletic footwear big Nike is no stranger to the planet of know-how: it has been a longtime collaborator with the likes of Apple to acquire applications for its products and has been an early mover on the notion of bringing and integrating chopping-edge (of course, potentially gimmicky) tech into its footwear and other gear. And that is before you consider Nike as an e-commerce pressure.

But although the dalliance in between sporting activities, tech and vogue is properly established, this deal opens up a various frontier for the organization. It’s pretty unusual for Nike to make an acquisition, but it would make sense that if it were going to do some M&A, it would be in the region of digital media and finding up engineers to execute on a wider eyesight in that spot.

The company is ideal regarded, of class, for its shoes and related sporty dresses, which it has for a prolonged time designed in co-branding with the most important sports stars and has extra not long ago started out to extend to a wider circle of stars and warm brands in a spirit of sporty road type. These have involved the likes of so-interesting Supreme, Travis Scott and seemingly tentative forays into audio lifestyle.

Nike overshadows all other sports shoe brand names in sizing, with its existing marketplace cap at just about $117 billion, additional than 2 times that of its closest competitor, Adidas . But Adidas has been thieving a march when it comes to partnerships with a huge community of famous people (even if Drake prefers checks in excess of stripes).

When it is not distinct nonetheless how and if Nike will be working with the startup’s present expert services, you could see how a offer like this could enable Nike commence to assume about how it could leverage the collaborations and endorsements it currently has in area into encounters over and above sneakers, promoting and athletic overall performance. In this age of Instagram and influencers participating in a significant part in shifting purchaser sentiment (and pounds), this could give Nike a shot at making its individual media platform, unbiased of these, on its have phrases.

This is a even bigger pattern that we’re observing throughout a lot of digital media. Think about how providers like Spotify have extended further than simple music streaming, investing in constructing tools to aid artists on its system with advertising and expanding their brands: providing sneakers means offering a idea, and that strategy requires to have a foothold in a electronic knowledge.