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Brazil 2014 World Cup Mascot ‘Fuleco’ during the recent FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil (Getty Images)

The quadrennial FIFA football World Cup is one of the biggest global sporting events in existence. Billions of viewers gather from all parts of the globe every four years, as football’s biggest extravaganza kicks off. The 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil next June and sports giants Adidas and Nike are getting ready for a match of their own.

The race is on between the two footwear and apparel brands as they strive to roll out new products and prepare marketing plans for the upcoming World Cup. Both companies are confident that the event in Brazil next year will lead to not just a spike in the sale of footballs, but also that of overall footwear and apparel sales, reports Oregon Live.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group Inc said: “The day that the event is over, the final game is done — that’s when marketing starts for the next World Cup.  It is the world’s most popular sport. You’re talking about marketing to fanatics (and) they’re will to spend big dollars.”

For Nike and Adidas, the World Cup represents another opportunity to test each other’s mettle and try and claim top honours as the world’s biggest footballing and sporting brand.

At present Adidas, of German origin and having its North American headquarters in Portland, holds a slight edge over Oregon-based Nike. That is partly due to Adidas being involved in football since inception in 1949. Nike on the other hand, entered the fray only in 1994.

Earlier in June, Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer had tipped the firm’s football unit to earn a record €2 billion, roughly $2.5 billion in the year 2014, due to the World Cup effect. Last year the unit posted earnings of €1.7 billion or $2.26 billion.

Hainer said: “Through the World Cup we will once again underline our leading position and share our passion for the game with fans around the world,”

Adidas officials believe they are in possession of quite a few pieces which will give them a huge strategic advantage over their American rival.

Adidas is one of six official FIFA partners for the World Cup; previously they were associated in the role of a sponsor. As per the terms with FIFA, every game will be played with an Adidas World Cup ball. The official ball for next year’s tournament is set to be unveiled on December 6  at the same time as when the World Cup groupings will be announced.

Not only that, the world’s current top 4 teams – Spain, Germany, Colombia and Argentina – all wear Adidas shirts. The Mexican national team also wears Adidas and that, according to company officials, sells as many jerseys in the United States as does the Nike-outfitted U.S. team.

The German manufacturer also has one of the world’s best players in Lionel Messi, signed up with them.

Nike meanwhile have reported that they had made $1.9 billion in revenue, a 9% increment over last year. Nike will be rolling out the new kits soon for the countries it sponsors, the biggest of them being the host nation Brazil.

“It’s a massive showcase moment,” said Charlie Brooks, Nike’s vice president of global category and affiliate communications.

Where Adidas had Messi, Nike have partnerships with one of the best young players around in Brazil’s 21-year old Neymar, as well as another world’s best in Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

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