German sportswear giant Adidas on Wednesday declared victory over U.S. rival Nike in the battle to be the biggest global soccer brand as two of its sponsored teams, Germany and Argentina, made to the World Cup final. In addition to supplying the uniforms of both teams on Sunday, Adidas will also supply the game ball (the Brazuca) and the cleats of many stars on both teams, including Lionel Messi of Argentina and Thomas Muller of Germany.
According to Reuters, Adidas and Nike dominate the $5 billion global soccer retail industry, sharing more than 80 percent of the market for many products. In recent times, Nike has threatened Adidas’ lead -- in fact this was the first World Cup where the American retailer outfitted more teams (10) than Adidas (nine). Even so, the premature World Cup exits of key stars Neymar (Brazil) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), the fact that most of the tournament’s top scorers wear Adidas, and the final between Germany and Argentina has caused the German brand to declare victory in the battle to be soccer’s biggest brand.
"Adidas will be the most visible brand by far in the World Cup final," Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said in a statement. "We are once again underlining our position as the world's leading football brand.”
However, as the Reuters report notes, Adidas’ lead is shrinking: soccer sales for 2014 are expected to be $2.7 billion compared to the $2.3 billion Nike reported for its financial year to the end of May.