Of course we all know that it is the World Cup Final between Argentina and Germany tonight. However, at Adidas Headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, there will be celebrations whatever the outcome as the winning team will be wearing kit made by the German company. Nike had to make-do with their two big-hitters (Brazil and Netherlands) squabbling over the play-off fixture yesterday.
Replica kits are big business and having your teams in the showpiece game affords major publicity and advertsing that is priceless. So who are the ‘Kit Kings’ from the World Cup Finals? I’ve started from 1974 as prior that point kit manufacturers logo’s didn’t appear on the playing shirts.
1974 West Germany: Adidas
1978 Argentina: Adidas
1982 Italy: Le Coq Sportif
1986 Argentina: Le Coq Sportif
1990 West Germany: Adidas
1994 Brazil: Umbro
1998 France: Adidas
2002 Brazil: Nike
2006 Italy: Puma
2010 Spain: Adidas
It’s probably no surprise that Adidas top the list given that they have been around since 1924 and have always sponsored the German national team. As a point of interest both Puma and Umbro were founded in 1924, but their respective records are poor by comparison. As for American giants Nike, they are a relatively new company, being founded in 1971 and came into football sponsorship (in Europe) much later. Their prize contract is that of Brazil which came into force in 1996. Even older that Adidas and popular in the 1980’s were Le Coq Sportif, founded in 1882, but no longer a major player in international football kits, but their involvement in football was enough to scoop two World Cup winners.
However, when you look around the streets week-in-week out, what is the international shirt that people are wearing (excluding England)? Invariably it is a Brazilian shirt – is that the power of Nike or the myth of Brazil as the ‘spiritual home of football’?
Whatever the result tonight, I can’t see a boom in the sale of German or Argentinian shirts in England…