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SBD Global/July 14, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike's Risk Everything Football Strategy Showing Signs Of Success

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The Nike swoosh was not "prominently displayed on the jerseys of either Argentina or Germany," both sponsored by adidas, according to Darren Heitner of FORBES. Nike’s "risk everything" campaign, however, "was never only about sponsoring enough teams to give the brand a fair shot of gaining exposure in the final match of the World Cup." Nike’s position going into the World Cup Final is that it sells to wholesale customers on a "futures" basis, thus "the outcome of the tournament has no bearing on its revenues around the world, which are up handsomely." Instead of ruminating about how neither team in the World Cup Final will be wearing Nike kits, "the brand boasts about the fact that 53% of players on 2014 World Cup squads wore Nike boots." Nike "is one of the favorite brands of boots for players." It has also experienced major growth in social, "which is becoming a larger piece of the marketing pie for successful brands by the day." According to data provided by Nike, the brand received a total of 3,072,369 overall mentions on Twitter from June 12 through July 6, "the heart of World Cup play." During that same period, rival adidas "received a total of 1,617,537 overall brand mentions." Comparing adidas Football YouTube to Nike Football/Soccer YouTube accounts, Nike "had over two-times the amount of views as adidas by June 24, with 20% less video inventory than its competitor" (FORBES, 7/13). QUARTZ's John McDuling wrote it is "official." Adidas "won the World Cup" in the sense that whoever wins Sunday's final "will be wearing the German sportswear giant’s clothing." It is the "official sponsor of both Germany and Argentina." And it is "the sponsor of the tournament’s top scorer so far, Colombia’s James Rodriguez." Yet, in the eyes of investors at least, Nike "is in better shape," both in the fooball business, and more broadly. Nike’s football business "has been booming." Nike's "global football" division generated $2.3B in revenue last year, up 21% from a year earlier, and about "double the pace of revenue growth for the broader company." Adidas said that "it expects to generate" a record €2B ($2.7B) in football revenue this year. But the fact that Nike is catching up "is worrisome" (QUARTZ, 7/12).
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