The Strategist

Nike vs Adidas: Fighting for the World Cup 2018

12/08/2017 - 10:48

Most teams at the World Cup in 2018 in Moscow will play in T-shirts with Adidas logo. However, the company’s main competitor Nike did not give up and won "on his field", more precisely, on the feet of athletes.

Once again, Adidas won the World Championship, although with a minimal advantage: the company will equip 11 teams of 32, and 10 teams will wear Nike. However, Nike in a sense won back by signing contracts for shoes with a large number of world football stars.

The German national team will play in sweaters with the logo of the sponsor of the team - Adidas AG. However, some players, for example, the midfielder Sami Khedira, will wear boots Magista Obra II, made by Adidas’ main competitor, American company Nike.

The final team squad of the World Cup final will be known only at the beginning of next summer. Now PR Marketing predicts that more than half of the athletes arriving in Russia will be equipped in Nike boots. Four years ago in Brazil, 52% of footballers played in Nike shoes, and 36% were in Adidas boots.

Peter Rohlmann, founder and head of PR Marketing, explains competitive position of Nike by the fact in that this company pays more attention to private contracts. Traditionally, Adidas specializes in national teams and federations, and prefers balls, referees and stadiums. Only in Europe, German manufacturers of sportswear annually spends on "its" clubs, the most famous of which are Madrid "Real" and "Manchester United", approximately € 800 million. Another half a billion, according to PR Marketing, goes to national teams.

Manufacturers consider sponsorship the main tool in increasing sales of sportswear, footwear and other sports equipment and accessories. The game is clearly worth the candle. Last year, this market was estimated at $ 19 billion, more than twice as much as ten years ago. Nike and Adidas together control 89% of this market.

Recently, Adidas scored another very important victory over Nike. It outperformed the Americans in sales to those people who are engaged in sports for health reasons. After several years of lagging, Adidas regained the lead in sales to fans of sports shoes. Last year, Germans sold 42 million pairs, and Americans - only 31 million.

At the same time, Nike chooses individual players in teams that have a contract with Adidas and concludes individual contracts for shoes with them. In addition to Khedira, the American boots wear such world stars as Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, Zlatan Ibrahimović from Manchester United, Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich and others. In this case, these players and their teammates will play with three strips of Adidas.

"The emphasis is not on broad sponsorship, but on top teams and stars," explains Volker Bosse, an analyst at Baader Bank AG. "They are valuable for their worldwide glory and for their many millions of admirers."

Footballers themselves are not afraid to resort to "guerrilla" tactics. In March 2017, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund dyed his hair in a red stroke showing Nike’s logo despite of the fact that his team was sponsored by Puma. According to the Dortmund media, Aubameyang is receiving €  2million a year from Nike, as well as additional bonuses for mentioning the company in social networks.

In 2013, when midfielder Mario Gotze came to Bavaria, which had a sponsorship deal with Adidas, he wore a sweater with the word "Nike". Moreover, the inscription was larger than the inscription on his "official" team T-shirt. In the same year, playing for the German national team, sponsored by Adidas, he showed Nike socks to the whole world. 

Nike tells nothing about individual contracts. In its annual report, the company only says that it will spend $ 1.1 billion a year on contracts with stars over the next five years.

Adidas sometimes also acts like its the main competitor. For example, the German company supplies with shoes the best football player of the planet Lionel Messi, who plays in Barcelona, even though he has a sponsorship contract with Nike.