SBD/August 5, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike, Adidas Already Rolling Out World Cup Activation Plans With Competition On Horizon

Nike and adidas are "already rolling out products and preparing marketing and 'product activation plans'" for next summer's FIFA World Cup in Brazil, because when it "comes to an event of this magnitude," the companies are not "leaving anything to chance," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. The World Cup "may help decide who reigns supreme in global soccer sales in the years ahead" between the companies. adidas currently "holds a slight edge" over Nike in soccer and it is one of six official partners for the competition. Four of the top teams in the world based on FIFA rankings -- Spain, Germany, Colombia and Argentina -- are "clothed in Adidas-created uniforms," and the company also "outfits the Mexico national team, which Adidas says sells as many jerseys in the United States as does the Nike-outfitted U.S. team." adidas believes that La Liga club FC Barcelona and Argentina F Lionel Messi is ready to take David Beckham's "marketing mantle," and the company "plans to use the World Cup to get the marketing ball rolling" for Messi. adidas America Soccer Dir Ernesto Bruce said, "He hasn't really been marketed in the U.S." Bruce said that Messi will be "getting as much Adidas-generated exposure" as Redskins QB Robert Griffin III or Bulls G Derrick Rose, who are both fellow adidas endorsers. Meanwhile, Brettman noted Nike "so far hasn't been as vocal about its World Cup game plan." The company as the event approaches will "roll out new uniforms for the countries it sponsors." Those sponsorships include the U.S. team "as well as that of the host country." adidas and Nike officials "almost uniformly say they will be pulling the levers of social media channels to broadcast their World Cup soccer messages." Nike is "now the leader" on that score as its soccer Facebook page "has 19.5 million likes to Adidas soccer's 14.1 million; Nike soccer's Twitter account has 1.4 million followers to about 500,000 for Adidas soccer." Nike's YouTube video channel "boasts 715,000 subscribers to less than 165,000 for Adidas" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/4).

HOPEFUL HAINER: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz reports adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer is "predicting that sales" from soccer in '14 will reach $2.7B (all figures U.S.) compared to $2.3B in '12, with Latin America "enjoying a big boost." That "should enable Adidas to hit 2013 estimates of mid-single digit sales growth and expansion in earnings per share of at least 12 per cent" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/5).
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