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World Cup Merchandise Sales a Battleground for Nike and Adidas

Players are vying to win the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

BRANDS’ GIVE AND GO: While national soccer teams are battling for advancement in this year’s World Cup, and are dueling for fans’ spending dollars.

Adidas AG is one of seven partners for the 2018 tournament, as evidenced by the Adidas logo that can be found on every game ball and other equipment. The company also sponsors Mexico, Russia, Colombia, Argentina, Germany and other countries. Nike Inc. has its own arsenal of teams — Brazil, Portugal, Nigeria, England and France among them. As of Monday, Nike had a higher sell–out rate, having depleted 28 percent of its World Cup merchandise within the first seven days, according to Thomson Reuters research. Adidas, meanwhile, had sold 6 percent of its FIFA-geared goods during that same time.

Analyzed in conjunction with StyleSage Co., the “Adidas vs. Nike — Who Will Score More World Cup Goals” report makes the distinction that little World Cup merchandise has been discounted. Nike has a higher average price point for its shirts and jerseys at $75.09 compared to Adidas $56.32. Markdowns aren’t necessarily needed given the World Cup’s popularity and to-the-end-of-the-earth kind of fans.

In terms of most valuable sports events brands, the FIFA World Cup ranks fourth with $229 million, with the Super Bowl taking top honors, followed by the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics, according to a 2017 Forbes survey. With $791 million in total prize money at stake, it’s easy to see why players like England’s Harry Kane, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Russia’s Denis Cheryshev and Spain’s Diego Costa are running themselves ragged. Brazil leads the world in terms of most World Cup wins with five titles. And Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar lead the charge for players with the highest market value at $180 million, according to Statista.

The Italian technical sports label Errea has a deal to suit up Iceland’s team in uniforms with its “Fyrir Iceland” motto inside the neckline. Competing in its first World Cup, Iceland’s team is a favorite with underdogs and residents. In 2016, 99.8 percent of Iceland’s TV audience tuned in for the Iceland-Portugal showdown at Euro 2016.

How the final outcome of the World Cup may tilt product sales with shoppers depends on which teams fight their way into the finals. More than one billion people tuned in for the 2014 finals between Germany and Argentina. But the impact of U.S. soccer followers is a question mark, considering 63 percent of Americans are “not at all interested in the World Cup,” according to Statista.

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