Cleats & Heroes

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Everyone “wants their heroes standing in Rio holding a trophy” Brendan Greeley; June 2014;Bloomberg.

There is big money in sponsoring a club or a footballer. Where there is money, there is fierce rivalry (okay so I am being dramatic). In this fascinating and entertaining video, Brendan Greeley investigates the soccer giants, Adidas and Nike and if the gap between their market share is shrinking. The film is 20 minutes long and very much worth the view.

Shootout: Can Nike Beat Adidas at Soccer?- Brendan Greeley from Bloomberg

For those who are short of time, here is a summary of the film.

Adidas and Nike have over 95% of the global market for sportswear and over 70% of soccer sales. Soccer is a game that the whole world cares about, and never more so than during a world cup, so getting your brand on the shoe of a top player is key.

Brendan, interviews Markus Baumann Senior Vice President for Adidas football & Antonio Zea Adidas innovation Director. Adidas as the World Cup sponsors, have the one thing Nike can not buy, the right to be the brand on the soccer ball. Markus Baumann expects to make this an “event year” and break the €2 billion ($2.7Billion) revenue, and of course, he would like Germany to be holding the cup. Adidas made their first imprint on the world cup in 1954 when they sponsored Germany, who went on to win the world cup. In 1970, they sponsored FIFA which gives Adidas the sole right to make the World Cup soccer balls and have their logo on the pitch.

The face of Adidas, Lionel Messi launched the Adizero 4 Messi Boot in February 2014. It is bright and fun and comes with four different colorways on the upper: solar green, pink, solar zest and solar blue.

Nike may be number 1 brand in sportswear with sales in excess of $25 billion, but they are still number 2 behind Adidas in revenue from soccer. The Adidas brand has over 66 years of history which Nike is overcoming by using mind association techniques. Brendan presents some of this film from the launch of the Nike Mercurials Superfly in Madrid which had Cristiano Ronaldo showcase the performance shoe.

Brendan interviews Trevor Edwards, President Nike Brand and Phil McCartney. The key message from Nike is about “winning the consumers”. Since Nike entered the World Cup in 1994 when it was hosted in the USA, they have continued their expansion into the Soccer market share. Their sales are of $1.9billion compared to Adidas of $2.4 billion. They have had much success with sponsoring Ronaldo in 1998 where the sponsored a person not the team. This sponsorship led to investigations into corruption, after the convulsions suffered by Ronaldo. Ronaldo was asked by congressmen why Brazil lost the 1998 World Cup final 3-0 to France. “We lost,” he said philosophically, “because we didn’t win”. Nike was accused of nothing and they subsequently sponsored the Brazilian team in 2002 and in this years World Cup. Trevor Edwards explains that winning the consumers means sponsoring the host nation, because once a supporters home nation is out of the world cup, they often start supporting the hosting nation.

Nike certainly have their own history, there is no doubting the power of Nike Air Jordans, but when quizzed if there will ever be another player led brand such Jordans they prefer to talk about Silo. Phil McCartney, talks about silo of Predators with their flex grip over the toes to help bend the ball, hence bend it like Beckham. Now Luka Modric from Croatia and midfielder for Real Madrid The Nike Mercurial Silo, first to have bright coloured cleats.

The film finishes on Brendan asking Markus Baumann and Trevor Edwards what they want as a result of the world cup. It is about market share, defending their positions or penetrating more of the market. Brendan concludes that indeed the market gap between the two giants is being reduced and one thing is for sure……everyone “wants their heroes standing in Rio holding a trophy”