SBD/May 7, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sources: Adidas Now Clubhouse Leader In Bid To Sign Kit Deal With EPL's Manchester United

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A deal with adidas would give ManU the freedom to create a separate fashion brand
adidas is "in pole position to clinch a world record kit deal" with EPL club Manchester United, as a deal worth $102M (all figures U.S.) annually "has all but been agreed, even though current sponsors Nike retain[s] the right to match any offer and extend a partnership" that dates back to '02, according to sources cited by Lawton & Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Nike is "sure to question whether it is worth more than doubling" its original 10-year, $509M deal, which expires in June '15. ManU officials met adidas execs in Germany after the club's recent UEFA Champions League match against Bayern Munich, and senior adidas execs also "have been attending recent matches at Old Trafford." Negotiations with Nike "have been going on for the last three years." ManU Group Managing Dir Richard Arnold and Exec Vice Chair Ed Woodward know that they "need to sign off the next kit deal as soon as possible too, simply because the sheer demand for United merchandise means production needs to begin sooner rather than later." A deal with adidas "would still give United the freedom to create a separate fashion brand, with Japanese company Uniqlo thought to be close to completing" its own deal (London DAILY MAIL, 5/7).

THREE STRIPES, YOU'RE OUT! The FINANCIAL TIMES' Alice Ross reports adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer yesterday was "forced to defend himself from an attack by one of the company’s largest shareholders amid concerns that the sportswear company is falling behind its arch-rival Nike." Hainer, who has been in the position since '01, said he "was 'a little bit surprised' after Union Investment, one of Adidas’s top 10 investors, told a local paper it had lost trust in leadership." Union Investment Fund Manager Ingo Speich said that he "could not understand the board’s recent decision to extend Mr Hainer’s contract a further two years to 2017, given that the company was being 'outpaced' by its rival Nike." Ross notes while the strong euro "was a big factor for Adidas, which makes the bulk of its revenues outside western Europe, the slide in US sales was particularly stark." Hainer said the BOD was "definitely not happy" with adidas' performance in North America (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/7).

ON ME LIKE ADIDAS: adidas on Monday announced that it has inked deals with NFL Draft prospects Sammy Watkins and Carlos Hyde. adidas' NFL roster includes Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, Saints TE Jimmy Graham, Broncos LB Von Miller, Chiefs S Eric Berry, 49ers RB Frank Gore, Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray, Bills RB CJ Spiller, Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill and Titans WR Kendall Wright (Portland OREGONIAN, 5/6).
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