Adidas, Nike present cases for top World Cup brand

Adidas, Nike present cases for top World Cup brand

The World Cup is all over but the shouting between Nike and Adidas about who had the more successful tournament.

At first glance, the answer would appear to be easy: Adidas.

After all, the German company fielded the two final teams and (the math is easy here) an Adidas-sponsored team — from the company’s home country, no less — emerged the world champion.

But there are other measurements of a brand’s success at the World Cup, and Nike, the world’s No. 1 footwear and apparel company, was eager to make them after the tournament ended Sunday.

First, though, the case for Adidas, which maintains its North American headquarters in Portland:

–Adidas swept individual awards — Leo Messi of Argentina, the focal point of Adidas global marketing efforts, was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player. James Rodriguez of Adidas-sponsored Colombia won the Golden Boot, as the tournament’s top goal scorer. And Germany’s Manuel Neuer won the Golden Gloves as the top goalkeeper. “We swept in 2010 as well,” Adidas spokesman Michael Ehrlich helpfully pointed out.

–Adidas, as it has since 1970, provided the match ball for every game. The company says it will sell more than 14 million Brazucas this year, a million more than in 2010.

–Adidas expects about $2.72 billion in soccer sales, the most ever. It expects to sell more than 8 million jerseys, compared to 6.5 million for the last World Cup. More than 2 million Germany jerseys have been sold alone, over 30 percent more than in the previous record year of 2006. Argentina, Mexico and Colombia jerseys also are selling well, recording more than a million sales apiece.

–The Adidas adizero f50 was the highest scoring shoe (or “boot,” if you’re a purist) of the tournament, with 44 goals, according to, including three of the top scorers (Rodriguez 6, Müller 5 and Messi 4).

Nike, on the other hand, didn’t catch any breaks in the later stages of the tournament.

The company had 10 of 32 teams in the tournament — the most ever for Nike and the most of any brand this year — when the first ball was kicked. (Adidas had nine.)

But it couldn’t catch a break.

Nike-sponsored Netherlands got bounced by Adidas’ Argentina, a fate that came down to penalty kicks. Whether The Netherlands, if it emerged from PKs, could have lost a second consecutive World Cup Finals or actually won… we’ll never know.

And Nike-sponsored Brazil, the host country and one of the pre-tournament favorites, inexplicably melted down in the semifinals and ended up with one of the most lopsided losses in tournament history hung around its neck by Adidas-sponsored Germany. The team also played without its Nike-sponsored superstar, Neymar.

Be that as it may, the World Cup case for Nike:

–The winning goal in the Germany’s 1-0 win over Argentina was scored in a Nike boot — Mario Gotze’ Magista Obra. A Nike-sponsored player scored the winning goal in the 2010 final game as well.

–Nike started the tournament with the most sponsored teams of any brand.

–53 percent of players on participating teams’ rosters wore Nike cleats, as did 51 percent of players who actually played.

–Miroslav Klose of Germany, who wore Nike Hypervenoms, broke the record for most career World Cup goals scored.

Nike and Adidas finished in a dead heat in one area. Both brands tallied 76 goals apiece in a variety of shoe styles, according to The also-rans: Puma had 8 and Mizuno and Warrior had 3 each.

— Allan Brettman