Adidas and Nike battle for soccer supremacy in World Cup year

lunes 10 de marzo de 2014 09:46 GYT

* Adidas and Nike step up marketing campaigns ahead of World Cup

* Two companies dominate $5 billion plus soccer kit market

* "Knitted" boots, lightweight shirts to tempt fans

By Keith Weir and Emma Thomasson

LONDON/BERLIN, March 10 (Reuters) - With the soccer World Cup only three months away, Adidas and Nike are squaring up for a marketing battle to match the fierce on-field rivalry of nations like Brazil and Argentina.

The sportswear giants dominate a soccer kit industry worth more than $5 billion annually. They vie for the title of market leader in the supply of hi-tech boots and jerseys to fans inspired by Argentine Lionel Messi, who wears Adidas, or new Brazilian idol Neymar, who is in the Nike camp.

A bootmaker since the 1950s and a World Cup sponsor, Germany's Adidas regards soccer as its territory and wants to avoid being overtaken by younger but larger American rival Nike, as has happened in other sports.

"Forget all you may have heard or written about a weak Adidas performance in football in 2013. We are leading this category that is so close to the Adidas DNA," Chief Executive Herbert Hainer said last week.   Continuación...