Nike Acquires TraceMe Startup Founded by Russell Wilson - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

Sports and technology merge once more. Nike has picked up Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s company, according to Yahoo.

Wilson acknowledged the acquisition in a simple Twitter post: “Just Do It.@Nike.” GeekWire reports that Nike confirmed the deal in a statement: “NIKE Inc. has acquired TraceMe to supplement the company’s content strategy on Nike-owned platforms.”

TraceMe, an app for connecting athletes and celebrities with their fans, was founded by the NFL star in 2017. The tech company used Seattle startup studio Pioneer Square Labs as a launchpad and in November last year, they altered it into a service called Tally, a platform aimed at sports teams, broadcasters, and venues to help fans engage around sporting events. The free-to-play app offers real cash prize payouts to users who can make the most accurate prediction on games.

Nike was interested in the original TraceMe technology, sources told GeekWire. It’s unclear what will happen to Tally, or how Nike plans to use TraceMe. The tech startup was valued at $60 million in 2017. Other investors of the company include Bezos Expeditions (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s fund), YouTube founder Chad Hurley, Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai, and Madrona Venture Group.

“TraceMe breaks down the boundaries between celebrities and the fans. They can take a front-row seat into our everyday lives,” Wilson told Forbes when the mobile app was launched two years ago.

This is Nike’s second acquisition this year, after buying data science and demand sensing expert Celect.

Wilson has been named to six Pro Bowls and has started two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLVIII in 2013. He holds the record for most wins by an NFL quarterback through seven seasons (75) and is one of two quarterbacks in NFL history with a career passer rating over 100. He was rewarded for his performance on April 15, 2019, when he agreed on a four-year, $140 million contract extension with the Seahawks, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL. 

In August, Wilson and his wife, Ciara, announced that they had joined the ownership group for Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders FC,