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Nike is moving closer to its World Cup goal

Sports apparel makers usually get as busy as the organizers themselves during the FIFA World Cup season, simply because it is an ideal platform for branding. Like in the past, Nike (NKE) was all over the place during the latest edition of the tournament, and the efforts have started paying off.

The post-FIFA sales of the sneaker maker show it has finished much ahead of its European rival Adidas in the sponsorship race. The company, which does not provide details of its ad spending at big events, is yet to publish the sales numbers officially.

Picture courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

According to NIKE, the demand for its FIFA merchandise is currently very high, especially in Europe, matching the trend witnessed in the fourth quarter when soccer apparel sales soared at triple-digit rates in the run-up to the World Cup.

It’s a well-deserved response to the swoosh brand from fans of the teams that played the final, which for the first time witnessed all the players wearing Nike’s jerseys. Most of the team members wore Nike shoes as well. Meanwhile, Adidas’ prospects were a bit dampened by the early exit of Argentina.

Oregon-based Nike did not make any mistake in judging the performance of the teams; for three among the four finalist teams were Nike-sponsored. That came as an advantage for the company, which had fewer number of teams compared to Adidas – an official World Cup sponsor. According to sources, nearly three-fourths of all players wore Nike shoes in Russia, and they scored about 100 goals.

Nike has finished much ahead of its European rival Adidas in the FIFA World Cup sponsorship race

Nevertheless, the difference between the strategies employed by Nike and Adidas, to ensure optimum visibility, needs to be factored in before comparing their participation in the event. While Adidas is into ball branding, advertising in the stadium and referee gear, Nike picks the best teams and star players and makes sure they wear its products only.

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In the May-quarter, Nike’s soccer segment benefitted significantly from the victory of its teams in the top European leagues and the deals signed with some of the most successful athletes.

Nike shares surged to an all-time high last month after the company reported above-consensus earnings for the fourth quarter. After paring a part of that gain, the stock remained almost steady since then.

RELATED: Nike Q4 earnings top estimates

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