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Nike And adidas Battle For Kit Dominance

Wed 6th Aug 2014 | Marketing & PR

The battle for dominance between Nike and adidas is once again reshaping the commercial landscape of European football according to research released today.

With the release of Repucom and PR Marketing’s latest Kit Supplier Report, figures show shirt sales in Europe continue to be big business for kit suppliers.

Approximately 13 million shirts were sold by the 98 clubs of the top five European football leagues last season (2013/14), up over 14% on the 2011/12 season two years prior.

English Premier League (EPL) clubs sold the majority of this figure, selling over five million shirts in total. This compares with clubs of Spain’s Primera División (3.10m), the German Bundesliga (2.32m), France’s Ligue 1 (1.22m) and Italy’s Serie A (1.18m).

In the coming season however, of these top European leagues, it is only the EPL where Nike is not the most dominant kit supplier.

Of the 25 brands supplying kits to teams of Europe’s top five leagues ahead of the 2014/15 season, Nike has outpaced its German rival adidas for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

The US sports giant will kit out 26 clubs, an increase of five on last year’s total, whilst adidas will supply 18, a figure which has dropped by four. Nike now supply the kits to just over a quarter (26.5%) of all clubs in Europe’s top five leagues. In comparison, adidas’ kits represent an 18.4% share of the market.

Andrew Walsh, football expert at Repucom, said: “In terms of revenue it is the top ten European teams which dominate, delivering 65% of total shirt sales in the five key football leagues, most of which coming from clubs in the English Premier League, adidas’ strongest market.

“Whilst Nike may be winning in the quantity stakes, Adidas is certainly not bowing out in the running for market superiority, far from it in fact. The brand is now starting to flex its muscles by supplying Europe’s biggest clubs.”

Currently, Nike’s top five deals which combined are worth approximately €125m per year include FC Barcelona, Manchester United FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Juventus FC and FC Internazionale.

adidas’s top five deals include Real Madrid FC, Chelsea FC, FC Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Olympique de Marseille and total approximately €135m per year, €10m more than Nike.

However, ahead of the 2015/16 season, adidas will be taking two of Nike’s biggest club deals; EPL giants, Manchester United and Italian Champions, Juventus FC.

Andrew Walsh continued: “Manchester United’s Nike deal is currently worth an estimated €31.5m per year, a figure dwarfed by adidas’ new €94m deal, a difference of over €62m. The deal with Juventus will also increase, from €19m to approximately €23.25m per year.

“adidas’s position in the market is certainly one of ‘quality’, already official partner of World Football’s biggest tournament, the FIFA World Cup, as well as World Champions, Germany and the UEFA Champions League, now they are moving to kit out the world’s biggest clubs underlining their position as football’s leading sports brand in terms of sponsorship. A title that Nike will of course continue to rival.

“How the strategies of these big brands develop will ultimately play a defining role in shaping the commerciality of the industry itself and it is key for clubs to see how these two giants are carving up the European football apparel market. Whilst Nike looks to maximise the number of teams it supplies, Adidas is going for the most popular, most followed and ultimately biggest selling clubs in the world.”

Dr. Rohlmann of PR Marketing said: “Kit deals in football are increasingly becoming more important in achieving a stronger market share for sports brands.

“These companies significantly benefit from supplying top clubs through both jersey sales and a rise to their reputation internationally.”

In addition, Puma has been able to strengthen its market position as the third major power in European football apparel with its new deal with Arsenal FC, formerly supplied, again, by Nike.

Including its deal with German side, Borussia Dortmund, Puma now kit out nine clubs in Europe’s top five leagues. Italian brand Kappa’s eight deals means it is the only other company to supply more than four clubs ahead of the 2014/15 season.

Image: Action Images / Adam Holt 

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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