Adidas 2 Nike 0 in World Cup final but competition goes on
By Emma Thomasson
BERLIN (Reuters) - With Adidas sponsoring both teams in Sunday's World Cup final, the German sportswear brand has declared victory over U.S. rival Nike in the latest round of its battle to remain the biggest global soccer brand.
The two companies dominate a soccer kit industry worth more than $5 billion a year, sharing more than 80 percent of the market for many products, but Nike has been threatening Adidas' leadership, including in its home territory of western Europe.
While Adidas has supplied the match ball for the World Cup since 1970, Nike kitted out more teams at the competition in Brazil for the first time, 10 out of the 32 teams including the hosts, compared with nine for Adidas.
However, the three stripes of Adidas will dominate the pitch on Sunday, on both teams' jerseys for the first time since 1990 and on many of their star players' boots as well as the match officials' clothing and the ball.
"Adidas will be the most visible brand by far in the World Cup final," said Chief Executive Herbert Hainer, who had predicted a Germany-Argentina final well before the two teams beat Nike-backed Brazil and the Netherlands in the semis.
"We are once again underlining our position as the world's leading football brand. Adidas is the clear number one in football globally," Hainer added in a statement.
It is not clear how long that will last.
Adidas expects record soccer sales of $2.7 billion in 2014, topping the $2.3 billion Nike reported for its financial year to end May. While the periods are not directly comparable, Nike has suggested the U.S. firm could exceed the Adidas figure for 2014 in its fiscal 2014/15. Continued...