On June 12 in São Paulo, Brazil will play Croatia in the first game of this year’s World Cup. The corporate spend on team sponsorships alone, according to Ohlmann, will total almost $400 million. Nike will sponsor 10 national teams, more than it ever has before—and one more than Adidas. Nike has Brazil, Portugal, and Ronaldo. Adidas has Spain, Germany, and Lionel Messi, the Argentine who has won the Ballon d’Or four times. As in every World Cup since 1970, the ball on the field will be Adidas’s.
Fascinating war between the two. Sponsorship, no longer image, is everything.