Nilsson: 2014 Is an Adidas Year

Adidas expects a boost from next June’s FIFA World Cup.

As the international soccer tournament is less than a year away, the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based sports firm anticipates the event will translate not only into a sales record of more than 2 billion euros in the category but also lift the brand’s presence in other sports.

“We know historically that when it’s a World Cup year, it’s an Adidas year,” said Adidas North America President Patrik Nilsson, adding that the last World Cup contributed to a 14 percent growth rate for the label in 2010. “We got a great lift for the whole brand, not just in soccer, so we’re looking for something similar or even better next year.”

The Brazil location of the tournament opens up new opportunities for Adidas, added the executive.  

“The time zone in Brazil is more accessible to the U.S., compared with last time in South Africa and games were in the middle of the night,” he said. “Brazil is really looked at as the mother of soccer. It’s a religion there, and that’s going to translate itself very well to this marketplace.”

Adidas will again be the official sponsor, supplier and licensee of the World Cup next year, equipping all officials, referees and volunteers, as well as supplying the tournament ball.

And in December, the brand will start rolling out new products in the soccer category, with footwear in four different product segments, as well as a signature collection for FIFA Best Player of the Year Lionel Messi.

As part of its plan, Adidas will work with key retailers in soccer such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, The Sports Authority and Eastbay on how to better relate the products to U.S. consumers. Social media also will play an important part of the World Cup communication, as it did during the London Olympics, Nilsson said.

“[Social media] will be at the core of our marketing plan,” he said, declining to give details. “If you look at the Olympics, we were one of the most socially active brands, so that gives us a platform to innovate.”

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