IT has been billed as the Nike World Cup Final but rival Adidas is poised to be the real winners of the big-money tournament.
When France and Croatia do battle at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium today, both teams will be sponsored by US sportswear giant Nike, their strips featuring the firm’s famous swoosh trademark.
Nike is believed to have ploughed more than £750 million into this year’s World Cup in a bid to break the stranglehold that German giant Adidas has traditionally held on football’s biggest spectacle. But a new report reveals that during the tournament, Adidas – which this year was worn by some big names which were knocked out, including Spain, Germany and Argentina – will still have raked in close to £220m in sales of strips, boots and streetwear.
“Nike may have won the final on the field but most of the money is made before the tournament starts,” said Andreas Inderst, senior equity group research analyst at Macquarie Group, and one of the report’s authors.
Adidas is celebrating 20 years as an official partner of Fifa. The German company has spent hundreds of millions of pounds – including up to £134m for this year’s tournament – for exclusive rights like having its logo on match balls and referees’ uniforms.
Adidas sponsored a 12-team contingent in Russia, the largest representation of any brand.
Nike sponsored 10 nations including England and Brazil. The company has also ploughed massive resources into growing the marketability of its athletes, like Ronaldo and Neymar.
But when the final whistle blows this afternoon, both sportswear giants will already be looking ahead to the biggest World Cup brand battle in history.
The next World Cup is, controversially, being staged in Qatar in four years’ time.
But it’s the tournament which kicks off in the US, Canada and Mexico in 2026 – with 48 nations competing instead of the traditional 32 teams – that the major sponsors are already focusing on.
It is expected to be the biggest money-spinning World Cup of all time, as Nike and Adidas race to cash in on the booming interest in the game in North America.
The global football market across apparel, footwear and equipment is estimated to be currently worth about £7bn.
This is expected to rise significantly in the run-up to the 2026 spectacular.
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