The Wall Street Journal picks up on the Adidas versus Nike battle [registration required] for soccer supremacy.
Stephanie Kang and Mike Esterl fill us in on the details - apparently adidas is going with the "lock Nike out" approach:
During the 64-game tournament, more than a billion viewers will see Adidas's three-stripe logo on match balls, referee uniforms, outfits worn by volunteers and billboards in and around the country's stadiums. Adidas has also locked up exclusive rights to advertisements during broadcasts of games in the U.S. by ABC and ESPN -- effectively blocking Nike ads from view.
Nike, meanwhile, is doing the celebrity-thing:
Just as its sponsorship of Michael Jordan propelled Nike into the biggest basketball brand in the world, the company hopes pricey endorsement deals with superstars like Brazil's Ronaldinho and the Brazilian team -- the reigning World Cup champions and this year's tournament favorite -- will make it the leader in soccer. Giving its swoosh even greater visibility, Nike for the first time is sponsoring more World Cup teams than Adidas. Nike is sponsoring eight, including the U.S., Mexico and Portugal. Adidas has just six, since several teams it signed failed to qualify for the tournament.
Nike says it is approaching $1.5 billion in soccer-related sales, more than double what it generated in 2002 and a huge jump from the $40 million in soccer goods it rang up in 1994, when the U.S. played host to the World Cup for the first time. Adidas, the longtime leader, is expecting a better than 30% sales jump this year to more than $1.5 billion.
Looks like Adidas has dropped the ball!
Maybe they should just sponsor soccer blog! FYI, For those of you advertising types who understand "intensity of experience" - soccerblog.com had 48 pageviews per user yesterday, compared to 5 pageviews per user for Nike's soccer community - joga.com. Not bad, eh?!
For more insight, see John Hagel's post: Joga.com and the Return of Community.
Thanks also to Britton at Intelligent Economy for sending me the WSJ story.