Nike and Adidas square off for Brazil World Cup in ongoing brand battle
By Victoria Bryan
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - When soccer teams battle for the World Cup in Brazil next year, another fight for global supremacy will be played out on the pitches - between Adidas and Nike.
In the next round of their tussle to be the world's biggest sports brand there is everything to play for.
Nike currently owns 14.6 percent of the global sporting goods market to Adidas' 11.4 percent, and is whittling away at the German brand's No. 1 position in Europe. Adidas held 13.2 percent of the western European sporting goods market in 2012 to Nike's 12.4 percent, according to Euromonitor data.
"It's not easy to evaluate (next year's) collections. Adidas is definitely putting a lot of effort into winning lost ground, but a company like Nike won't rest on its laurels," said Hans Allmendinger, head of marketing for German sporting goods retailer Sport2000.
Adidas (ADSGn.DE: Quote) has for more than 40 years decorated soccer kit and shoes with its distinctive parallel lines logo. It has strong partnerships setting it up well for the coming challenge: a close relationship with German club Bayern Munich, of which it owns 9 percent, and with FIFA, soccer's world governing body, for whom it designs official World Cup kit.
Adidas has forecast record 2014 soccer sales of over 2 billion euros and aims to boost group sales to 17 billion euros ($23 billion) in 2015.
U.S. Nike (NKE.N: Quote), meanwhile, only entered the soccer market in 1994. But already it has several major partnerships with clubs, including English champions Manchester United.
The owner of the distinctive 'swoosh' or tick logo, does not give forecasts for individual sport categories, but it is predicting group sales of up to $30 billion by 2015 - suggesting it thinks it can put in a sufficiently strong performance during the World Cup to stretch its global lead over the German company - and maybe beat it at home too. Continued...