Nike, Adidas gear up for FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Messi NeymarOrganizers claim the World Cup is the most-watched sporting event in the world, and they’re probably right. In any case, billions of people will be watching when the quadrennial world championship of soccer unfolds next June in Brazil.

That’s nearly a year away. But when it comes to an event of this magnitude, Adidas and Nike aren’t leaving anything to chance.

The biggest footwear and apparel brands in the game are already rolling out products and preparing marketing and “product activation plans” for the World Cup. Both companies are confident they will reap spiked soccer sales. And both can expect, based on past experience, that the World Cup’s rising tide will help overall footwear and apparel sales.

“The day that the event is over, the final game is done — that’s when marketing starts for the next World Cup,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group, Inc. “It is the world’s most popular sport. You’re talking about marketing to fanatics (and) they’re will to spend big dollars.”

For Nike and Adidas, the World Cup competition may help decide who reigns supreme in global soccer sales in the years ahead. Adidas, a German company that has its North American headquarters in Portland, holds a slight edge over Oregon-based Nike at the moment. But Adidas has been a soccer player since the company’s 1949 founding; Nike only entered the game in 1994. Read more