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World Cup Will Also Be a Battle of the Sports Brands

December 10, 2013

When soccer teams compete for the FIFA World Cup next summer in Brazil, another fight will also be taking place between Nike and Adidas, regarding which company will reign as the planet’s biggest sports apparel brand.

As Reuters reports, Nike currently owns 14.6 percent of the global sporting goods market — compared to 11.4 percent for Adidas — and is whittling away at the German brand’s No. 1 position in Europe.

For more than 40 years, Adidas has decorated soccer kits and shoes with its distinctive parallel-lines logo. The brand has strong partnerships with the German soccer club Bayern Munich and with FIFA, the international governing body for soccer. Adidas also has the distinction of designing the official World Cup team kits.

Nike, a relative newcomer, entered the soccer market in 1994 but has several major partnerships with clubs including English champions Manchester United. Nike also sponsors the national team in Brazil, which has won the World Cup a record five times.

In its contest with Nike, Adidas will be using so-called “ambush marketing,” for example, by launching a new soccer jersey for Sao Paulo’s Palmeiras club in the yellow, green and blue worn by the Brazil national team.

But Nike’s well-designed, comfortable products and big-name endorsements, along with early adoption of new technologies and a bigger social-media presence, have reportedly fueled Nike’s success. — Greg Beaubien


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