The Landscape of National Team Apparel Sponsors at the World Cup

The World Cup is one of the largest marketing events in sports; one through which companies aim to connect with consumers through the extensive global coverage of the event.  This is especially true for sporting goods manufacturers trying to build an association with the best teams and players in the tournament, examined further in the analysis below.

The following graphic depicts the landscape of brands sponsoring the jerseys of the 32 soccer federations participating in the World Cup this summer:Bo$_Sponsors - WC2014 Kits copy

Sponsors - WC2014 Kits - Pie Chart copy

The presence of the brands more or less corroborates the competitive environment in the soccer market today.  Adidas reportedly brought in US$2.4B (£1.4B) in global soccer revenue this past year and led the market, while Nike reportedly earned US$1.9B (£1.1B).  Nike will have the highest representation this summer with ten teams, including hosts Brazil, and other high profile teams including England, France, Portugal, and Holland.  These are well-liked sides whose kits should have strong sales regardless of the market, based on their popularity and player star-power.  Although not considered a top contender, the United States Men’s National Team is a valuable side to outfit from a revenue perspective.  America represents one of largest soccer markets for consumers in the world, and should pay off well for Nike.

For Adidas, America is its largest market, responsible for 15% of global soccer revenue per year, or estimated US$360M (£214M).  Although they do not sponsor the Americans, they should definitely do well there based on the various sides they represent this summer which are also popular in the States.   They will have the second largest presence among national teams at the World Cup, with defending champions Spain, Germany, and Argentina all wearing the three stripes.  The same is true of these sides as those mentioned above for Nike; they are popular, successful squads with well-known players.  As such, these jerseys should outperform average sales in most markets.  Also notable in the Adidas portfolio of teams is Colombia, which according to the company is their best-selling jersey in Latin America.  Mexico also serves as a valuable sponsorship, given the team’s large following both domestically and in the United States.  Adidas notes that the Mexican jersey is the top selling shirt for them in the United States, a market with both a strong Mexican population and one of the highest average household incomes in the world.  This is a key statistic among American consumers, one which sporting goods companies look for to drive apparel purchases; quite simply, higher incomes mean more disposable funds that can be used to spend on jerseys and apparel.  With an additional sponsorship of the tournament (costing around US$70M, £42M), where every goal and pass will be made with the Adidas Brazuca, Adidas will be well-represented this summer in Brazil.

Next in the pack is Puma, staying true to their strategy of maintaining a strong presence among African teams to complement their biggest contenders in the Italian side.  Puma is currently undertaking a refocused attack on the soccer market, mostly from a club and player perspective, the profitability of which will be interesting to see at the end of their financial year and the years to come.  The remaining brands (Burrda, Joma, Lotto, Marathon, and Uhlsport) each represent a single team.  The Belgian side is perhaps of the highest profile, or at least with the highest expectations, among the remaining teams, wearing the Swiss brand, Burrda.

Jerseys and apparel represent a significant source of revenue for manufacturers.  Prices vary depending on the market (~US$90 in the United States), but from a cost perspective, companies will bring in a very healthy profit margin through the sale of shirts, just another aspect of the big business of FIFA’s World Cup.

What’s the most valuable team to sponsor from a business perspective?  Which brand’s presence is most felt at the tournament?  Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Reporting on the business side of the world's game.