Nike’s iPod Play Has Strong Web and iTunes Presence

Nike will have a digital outpost on the iTunes Music Store and an online community site as part of the company’s new product and marketing tie-up with Apple.

The digital properties are extensions of the companies’ Nike+iPod kit, announced yesterday, which will pair Nike’s forthcoming in-shoe sensors with a wireless iPod Nano receiver. The wearable shoe/player combo will let runners transfer their workout data — including speed, distance and calories burned — to their iPod in real time and then synch that data with a Nike-owned community site to chart their progress and compete with other Nike+ runners.

The NikePlus.com site will let users post their individual running stats and challenge one another to virtual races, in which registered members can run locally and compare results with others, regardless of geography.

Since those features are not yet enabled, the site currently has promotional content, including video testimonials from athletes Paula RadCliffe and Lance Armstrong on the importance of music to their workout regimens. Accompanying video shows them running with Apple’s signature white earbuds protruding from the sides of their head.

The site also contains a digital catalog of shoes that will be given the Nike+ treatment. The Nike+ series of shoes will have their retail debut this summer, and the Nike+iPod transmitter kits will sell in Apple and Nike stores for $29.

Additionally, a “Nike Sport Music” section in the iTunes Music Store will feature music and podcasts courtesy of Nike. These include iMixes designed to motivate runners during specific types of workouts, playlists contributed by celebrity athletes and video and audio podcasts covering a range of topics. One such podcast will tell the story of novice athlete Owen who takes it on himself to become a serious runner.

Nike is no stranger to online community plays, having earlier this year created a Google Maps mash-up for its Run London Web site. That effort encouraged jogging enthusiasts to plot their routes and search the favorite runs of other Londoners.

Neither company returned calls for comment by press time.

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