SBD/March 7, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike, Adidas Still At Odds Over British Olympic Kit Requirements For Podium Appearances

Nike athletes Radcliffe, Farah expected to wear adidas during Olympics
Both adidas and Nike “are understood to be resisting attempts by the other to force athletes to break existing long-term footwear contracts in order to comply with team kit requirements” for the ’12 London Games, according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. The British Olympic Association is sponsored by adidas, and Nike athletes such as runners Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe “will be expected to appear in their kit when they run for Team GB.” In the U.S. “the position is reversed,” as Nike sponsors the USOC. In the past, the two brands “have turned a blind eye to clashes, allowing athletes to mount the podium in their main sponsors’ trainers.” They are “on collision course for London, however, with both the American and the British teams insisting publicly that they will compel athletes to don full team [kits] on the podium.” Nike is “understood to be insistent that the USOC enforce its rules in London, and considers any attempts by Adidas to force Britain’s Nike-sponsored athletes to wear non-Nike shoes as effectively encouraging them to break their contracts.” Nike insists that athletes wearing their shoes is "not 'ambush marketing,' but it will leverage its athletes around the Games.” A source said that “the clash between footwear and Olympic kit deals was a ‘sticking point’ in negotiations.” This clause could explain why Nike in the U.K. “has run a major campaign in the first part of 2012 featuring Farah, Radcliffe, hurdler Perry Shakes-Drayton and world champion cyclist [Mark] Cavendish.” In the ads, which “feature their Twitter account names," the athletes refer to their training regime under the hashtag #makeitcount (London TELEGRAPH, 3/7).
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