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Battle of The Brands at the FIFA World Cup 2010

The World Cup in South Africa is going to be more than 32 countries fighting it out for the goal, besides the Cup itself there are possibly higher motivation at stake, it’s the battle of the brands between Adidas – Nike – PUMA.

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At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Puma were the best represented brand with 11 countries out of 32 wearing their jerseys, Nike was represented by eight nations and Adidas six.

For Adidas in particular this was a significant defeat as the company was the World Cup’s official sponsor in its own country, “Our three-stripes logo will be everywhere,” said chief executive Herbert Hainer. They were, but one can’t help but think he would have liked to have seen even more stripes attached to the one thing people were really watching – the players.

But if there’s one thing Adidas are used to it’s competition as the company’s very beginnings stem from a family conflict. Adidas and its other German sportswear competitor Puma were started when two brothers, Adi and Rudolf Dassler, fell out over 60 years ago and set up separate companies on opposite sides of a river in their small home town of Herzogenaurach.

American sportswear giant Nike had a very different start when it was founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight, and officially became Nike, Inc. in 1978.

However all three have emerged as the world’s leading sportswear companies with Nike (US$18.6 billion revenue) the world’s largest, Adidas close behind (US$15.6 billion revenue) and Puma currently the smallest out of the three (US$4 billion revenue).

Although Adidas and Puma have the most historically intense rivalry, recent times have seen Adidas switch attention to Nike as the American company poses a far greater threat in the global sportswear market.

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