Adidas takes 12-10 lead over Nike in World Cup shirt deals

Shareholders arrive for Adidas annual general meeting in Fuerth near Nuremberg, Germany, May 11, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 30 May 2018

Adidas takes 12-10 lead over Nike in World Cup shirt deals

  • Adidas sponsors 12 teams, Nike 10, Puma four

BERLIN: Adidas can declare itself the winner over arch rival Nike in the upcoming soccer World Cup even before the first match kicks off as it is kitting out the most teams.
However, the German sportswear brand, which is also the official sponsor of the tournament, expects only a limited financial impact, partly because this year’s World Cup takes place in Russia, where the economy is in the doldrums.
“The World Cup in Russia does carry lower financial opportunities than the similar event four years ago in Brazil,” Adidas Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted said earlier this month.
“At the same time, we’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fantastic way of bringing our brand to life globally,” Rorsted added.
Since the last tournament in 2014, Adidas has grown sales rapidly in areas other than soccer, capitalizing on booming demand for its retro basketball sneakers and springy Boost running shoes to outpace Nike, particularly in the US market.
Nevertheless, soccer remains important for the image of the German brand, which has supplied the World Cup match ball since 1970 and has a deal to sponsor the event until 2030.
It also announced last week it will extend its partnership with the UEFA Champions League until 2021.
After Nike kitted out more teams for the first time in Brazil in 2014, Adidas has fought back, this year sponsoring 12 of the 32 participating teams, including strong contenders like Germany and Spain, along with hosts Russia.
Nike, which only got heavily involved in soccer when the World Cup was played in the United States in 1994, is supplying shirts for 10 countries, including Brazil, France and England.
“The World Cup is such a powerful moment in sport, and we look forward to amplifying its energy,” Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker said in March.

NO IRANIANS WEAR NIKE
While team deals are important for sales of soccer jerseys, more critical for sales of boots is the sponsorship of top players, particularly the likes of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who wears Nike, and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, in Adidas.
Nike expects 60 percent of all the players heading to Russia will be wearing its boots, including almost half the German and Spanish team and three-quarters of the Russians, even though they will be wearing Adidas shirts.
An exception is Iran, which faces new sanctions after US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal. Nike says none of the country’s players are wearing its shoes, while Adidas is providing the team’s jerseys.
German brand Puma is a distant third, sponsoring just four relatively lowly teams in the competition, compared with the eight it kitted out in 2014, dented by the failure of its top team Italy to qualify.
Still, Puma Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden says the World Cup has helped its order book for the second and third quarters.
Adidas reported soccer-related sales of 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in 2014, when it sold 14 million official match balls and 8 million jerseys, including 3 million for the winning German team.
Sales rose to 2.5 billion euros by 2016, but slipped as a proportion of total Adidas revenue to 13.5 percent from 14.5 percent in 2014. It has not disclosed figures since then.
Nike saw soccer sales fall a currency-adjusted 4 percent to $2 billion for its fiscal year ended May 31, 2017, accounting for less than 6 percent of group revenue.
The World Cup could add about 3 to 4 percentage points to Adidas group revenue growth in 2018, lower than previous tournaments due to the fact it is happening in Russia, according to Piral Dadhania, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.
However, Dadhania noted much of the benefit occurs before the event as the jerseys have already been sold to retailers.
“Any incremental boost during or after the event relating to jersey sales depends on the extent to which specific teams progress through the competition,” Dadhania said. ($1 = 0.8598 euros)


Dortmund, Favre face tough questions after Bayern’s ‘big step’

Updated 44 min 19 sec ago

Dortmund, Favre face tough questions after Bayern’s ‘big step’

  • Several German newspapers have suggested Favre is set to leave at the end of the season

BERLIN: Borussia Dortmund visit bottom side Paderborn on Sunday with uncertainty surrounding the future of coach Lucien Favre after Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat by Bayern Munich left their Bundesliga title dreams in tatters.

Favre and Dortmund were forced to deny rumors that he is set to resign, and face Paderborn attempting to at least keep some pressure on reigning champions Bayern, who sit seven points clear with six matches remaining.

Second-placed Dortmund may also have to make do without Erling Braut Haaland, after the teenage sensation was injured against Bayern, reportedly in an accidental collision with the referee.

Swiss Favre was forced to clarify comments made on Tuesday when he said he would “talk about it (his future) in a few weeks,” saying the following day that he was not “giving up at all.”

Several German newspapers have suggested Favre is set to leave at the end of the season, with Niko Kovac, who was sacked by Bayern last year, reported to be his likely successor.

“We are certainly not having a coaching debate,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc insisted to Sport1.

“Lucien must have expressed himself misleadingly in a moment immediately after the game.”

Barring an unlikely late-season collapse from Bayern, it will be the second straight season that Favre’s Dortmund have pushed their rivals close in the title race before ultimately coming up short.

Dortmund led for much of the campaign last term but stumbled late to finish two points off the pace.

“We said before the season that we wanted to play for the title again,” added Zorc.

“We didn’t manage to be better than Bayern. Now we can be disappointed, take a deep breath, and then set a new goal for Sunday. Full focus is on second place.”

Dortmund will be confident of getting back on track against a Paderborn side who are rooted to the foot of the table, eight points adrift of the relegation playoff spot, despite three consecutive draws since the Bundesliga resumed following the coronavirus lockdown.

“We mustn’t talk of a miracle because there are still 18 points to be won,” said Paderborn coach Steffen Baumgart.

“As long as it’s still mathematically possible we have to give it everything we’ve got.”

Bayern are now firmly on track for a record-extending eighth straight title and on Saturday host a Fortuna Duesseldorf side who boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 midweek win against freefalling Schalke.

“We set out to take a big step (against Dortmund). We succeeded. We showed a lot of determination,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick.

Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation playoff spot, are five points clear of second-bottom Werder Bremen, although the four-time Bundesliga champions have a game in hand.

Bremen, who have only spent one season out of the top flight since the Bundesliga’s formation in 1963, visit Schalke on Saturday.

Schalke coach David Wagner is under pressure after his side threw away their European hopes with a 10-match winless run, including three straight defeats since the restart of the season.

Dortmund will need Jadon Sancho to be back at his best on Sunday, with Haaland’s injury leaving them without a recognized out-and-out striker.

English winger Sancho is yet to start a game since the restart after his own fitness problems, but has featured as a subsitute in all three matches.

The 20-year-old has scored 17 goals in all competitions this season.