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World Cup 2018: Battle of the Brands

Rahul Bhadula
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
1.34K   //    18 Jul 2018, 12:57 IST

Adidas and Nike together command about 60% share of the football apparel and merchandise market
Adidas and Nike together command about 60% share of the football apparel and merchandise market

There is one permanent fixture in every edition of the FIFA World Cup. You probably guessed it! Adidas vs Nike is one of the biggest brand rivalries which makes the soccer carnival all the more exciting.

The stakes are sky high for the two sporting behemoths: An audience of over 3 billion and merchandise sale opportunity to the tune of $5 billion. Let's look at the figures which cement FIFA World Cup’s position as the world’s most watched (sporting or non-sporting) event:

-  The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil had a global in-home television audience reach of 3.2 billion. That’s about half the human population!

-  The Final match between Germany and Argentina was watched by over 1 billion people.

-  The 2014 edition was broadcasted in 219 countries (though only 32 participated).

In a nutshell, the World Cup is a serious marketing and sales opportunity for any brand and the success (or lack of it) here has an effect on the company’s top line as well as brand recall.

This year, Adidas was the kit supplier to 12 out of the 32 teams. The prominent ones included Germany, Argentina, Spain, Belgium and the host Russia. Nike, on the other hand, had 10 teams in its kitty including Brazil, Portugal, England, Croatia and the newly crowned champion France. And while team kits are largely a matter of sponsorship deals between a country’s football governing body and the brand, boots are a matter of individual preference. This is where Nike has pipped the German brand. As per Nike, about 65% of the players used its boots in Russia 2018.

The World Cup, for obvious reasons, is a great opportunity to showcase a new product line and the latest variants of the existing one. Adidas launched its 2018 World Cup cleats collection christened the ‘Energy Mode Pack’ ahead of the World Cup which consisted of three different types of boots. Nike reciprocated by releasing its much awaited ‘Just Do It’ World Cup Boot pack that consisted of revamped versions of four of its popular boots.

So which brand came out tops in this World Cup?

While Adidas supplied kits to more countries, when it came to boots, Nike was the clear winner with close to 65% of all players choosing the ‘swoosh’ over the ‘three stripes’. 3 out of the 4 teams that reached the semi finals were Nike sponsored and the Grand Finale between Croatia and France was an all Nike affair. The Golden Boot – awarded to the player with most goals in the tournament – went to English captain Harry Kane, a Nike athlete.

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Harry Kane scored the highest number of goals in the tournament wearing Nike Hypervenom Phantom 3 cleats
Harry Kane scored the highest number of goals in the tournament wearing Nike Hypervenom Phantom 3 cleats
Luka Modric, whom claimed the coveted Golden Ball, took to the field in his Nike Mercurial Vapor cleats
Luka Modric, who claimed the coveted Golden Ball, took to the field in his Nike Mercurial Vapor cleats
Kylian Mbappe, the young French forward and a Nike athlete, was the revelation of the tournament
Kylian Mbappe, the young French forward and a Nike athlete, was the revelation of the tournament
Russia turned out to be a forgettable outing for Lionel Messi who wears Adidas Nemeziz 18 cleats
Russia turned out to be a forgettable outing for Lionel Messi who wears Adidas Nemeziz 18 cleats

The Golden Ball – awarded to the best player in the tournament – was deservedly bagged by the Croatian Captain Luka Modric, again a Nike athlete. Getting into the finer details – of the 150 goals scored in the tournament leading to the final, 94 were scored by players wearing Nike cleats.

There’s little doubt now as to who was the winner in the war of brands in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. And while the World Cup is over, this iconic rivalry will continue until it reaches its zenith again in 2022.

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Rahul Bhadula
CONTRIBUTOR
Can't wait to see India rise as a sporting power during my lifetime. Sports I like - Football, Cricket, Badminton, Tennis, F1, Boxing, Hockey Sports I follow: Quite a few
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