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sporting brands

Nike, adidas Go Head-to-Head in World Cup Marketing Showdown

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 19, 2014 12:11 PM

The World Cup, a sporting event far larger than the Super Bowl in both size and marketing dollars, is only a few short weeks away and brands are doing all they can to get in front of the millions of soccer fans around the globe. Perhaps the biggest battle will be between Nike and adidas, which is an official sponsor of the event and the maker of the tournament's official game ball, Brazuca.

But while adidas' name and logo will be slapped on billboards and stadiums across the country, the brand is surely bracing for whatever ambush marketing move Nike has up its sleeve, much like the brand has done at past Olympic and World Cup events.  

Nike has been quickly catching up to adidas in the soccer gear market, despite the fact that it only entered in 1994 after the World Cup came to the US. Nike has far outgrown the German company as a whole, but adidas is still the leader in soccer, bringing in a reported $2.4 billion in 2013 compared to Nike's $1.9 billion, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.Continue reading...

sporting brands

FIFA World Cup Tie-In Not Yet Scoring for Adidas as Nike Pulls Ahead in Europe

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 6, 2014 12:20 PM

Adidas Group, the world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker, today reported a significant decline in first-quarter earnings. Net profit fell 34 percent to €204 million (US $283.2 million), while sales fell 6 percent to €3.53 billion. North America sales, meanwhile, have slipped 20 percent.

Three key factors in the company's disappointing quarter: a 38 percent Q1 slump in its TaylorMade golf business, the strength of the euro, and continued weakness in emerging market currencies, particularly the Russian ruble. “A 35 percent earnings-per-share decline in a quarter which should have benefited at least a little bit from the upcoming World Cup is disappointing,” commented Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Kuhn to Bloomberg on the flagship adidas brand's association as an official FIFA World Cup sponsor, even though Nike will be the dominant kit supplier this year. 

Adidas has created a special soccer ball (dubbed Brazuca) for FIFA that it's been testing, but this World Cup is seeing the company, and its flagship brand, tested on many fronts—most of all by its fiercest rival.Continue reading...

sporting brands

MLS Looks to Inspire Homegrown Pride with New Campaign

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2014 02:57 PM

Hoping to ride the World Cup's coattails, Major League Soccer has launched a new campaign to attract more fans to the sport in the US, where pro-soccer sits in a far-off fifth place behind the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. The campaign, “MLS: For Club and Country,” will launch in conjunction with the league's March 8 season opener.

Soccer is "very different from, say, football or baseball when you have one team and one team only. In soccer, you root for club—and country," said MLS CMO Howard Handler, who learned his trade while working for the NFL and Madison Square Garden, according to Ad Age.

The campaign hopes to remind soccer fans where some of their favorite national team players come from—a message that is more timely this year as more than a dozen of the players slated to represent the US at the World Cup this summer play in MLS. That wasn't so during the last Cup in South Africa, where only four of the national team's players hailed from the US league, while all others played for international leagues.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Amid Ongoing Scandals, MLB Stands to Lose Best Brand Ambassador in Jeter

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2014 07:10 PM

In a move that was bound to come, but surprising nonetheless, the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter announced he will be retiring after the 2014 baseball season. The all-star shortstop took to his Facebook yesterday to post a lengthy note to fans, telling them that he "could not be more sure" that the time is right. 

The announcement, a heartbreaking one for fans, may be even more disappointing for Major League Baseball. The League has been plagued by a persistent PR problem surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs by players, spoiling the careers of a number of star sportsmen and tarnishing the reputations of clubs and the league overall. But Derek Jeter wasn't one of them. In fact, he was the farthest thing from the MLB's problems—an ambassador to the masses that represented not just legendary athleticism, but poise in the face of constant media spotlight. 

It's an impressive feat for a man whose career was partially played alongside one of the League's latest and biggest foes—Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees third baseman, who has been embroiled in his own PED scandal for the last year or so, will not take the field in 2014 as part of a related suspension. And while the pair were on-field buddies and two of the most sought-after players in the League, Jeter never got mixed up with A-Rod's dealings.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Are You Ready to Rupp? Iconic Arena to Get Major Overhaul

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2014 11:49 AM

Rupp Arena, the home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, is a bit of a basketball mecca. Roundball fans travel from around the US to take in a game there and experience UK fever. 

But fans may want to put off their trips for a few years now that the University of Kentucky and local government is injecting $310 million to update the iconic arena. Improvements will include separating the arena from the adjoining convention center, replacing its current beige façade with glass windows, new luxury boxes, a center-hanging scoreboard and one improvement that will likely change the game-watching experience for the thousands of attendees: chair backs for all!Continue reading...

sporting brands

Gunner Do It: Inside Puma's Record-Breaking Arsenal Football Club Deal

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2014 07:36 PM

Puma has made a major move, signing a five-year "kit" deal with English Premier League powerhouse Arsenal, dealing a major blow to 20-year partner Nike.

The move is all part of a brand renewal strategy under new Puma CEO Bjoern Gulden that aims to re-establish the brand in the sports apparel market, which has taken a backseat to its lifestyle brand in recent years. 

The new $249 million deal is the largest ever for "the Gunners," as the legendary football club is calld by fans, and Puma, and drops the apparel-maker's logo right back into the spotlight on the backs (and rear-ends and cleats) of one of the league's hottest clubs, Sports Business Daily notes.

Arsenal’s previously struck a sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines in 2012 for five years and $248 million.

In addition, Puma has gained the rights to produce other Arsenal-related merchandise. Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger, who is also slated to sign a new contract with the club, will be given a large pool of cash to recruit free agents.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Adidas Celebrates 50 Years of Iconic Stan Smith Sneaker with Pop-Up, 3D Printing

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 20, 2014 12:41 PM

Despite the fact that many people may not know who Stan Smith actually is, they likely know his shoe. Smith himself says his own son once asked him if the shoe had been named for him or if he had been named for the shoe.

The shoes, in fact, were named for the American tennis icon 50 years ago—a date Adidas is celebrating by introducing two new Stan Smith collections. After all, more than 40 million pairs have already been sold, making it the top-selling brand in the history of Adidas.

The big anniversary celebration included a Stan Smith-themed pop-up store at the Old Truman Brewery in East London that featured “an interactive floor, a digital 'Stan Yourself' station, and a 3D printing post” that allows consumers to print out “trefoil lace locks,” according to Dexigner.com. What's "Stan Yourself," you may ask?Continue reading...

sporting brands

Notre Dame Reportedly Will Cut Ties with Adidas for Player-Favored Under Armour

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 10, 2014 03:57 PM

Get ready to re-outfit your leprechaun. According to a report from ESPN, Notre Dame, one of the most iconic brands in college athletics, is preparing to end its apparel contract with Adidas at the end of the school year and sign-on with Under Armour. 

Sources told reporter Darren Rovell that Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank himself went out to Notre Dame Thursday to discuss the deal with school heads. And why not? College athletics present a huge branding—and financial—opportunity for Nike, Adidas and the like, and Under Armour has been growing its brand exponentially, even getting under the skin of the NFL for infiltrating its strict uniform policies. 

"We have been very happy with adidas," ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN.com last month while noting that all the big brands were under consideration, including Nike. “It is just good business to use the expiration of a contract to review all options."Continue reading...

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