Adidas Set to Sell More Germany Jerseys Than at Home World Cup

Adidas AG predicts it will sell a third more Germany jerseys this year than when the country hosted the World Cup eight years ago as fans worldwide get behind the team in Brazil.

Adidas will sell more than 2 million of the shirts in 2014, beating its record 1.5 million of 2006 and helping it achieve soccer-related sales of at least 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) as the World Cup boosts demand for its balls and sports gear, it said today. The Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company sponsors sides including the national team.

“For the last couple of years, the German team is playing really exciting football,” Adidas spokeswoman Katja Schreiber said by phone. That’s reflected in the sales figures, with Germany gaining more fans internationally, she said.

More than 500,000 of the team’s jerseys will be sold outside Europe this year, compared with about 300,000 in 2010, the year of the last World Cup in South Africa, Adidas said. In total, the company expects to sell more than 8 million soccer shirts globally this year, up from 6.5 million in 2010.

Germany plays USA in its final group game at the World Cup on June 26, needing just a tie to be sure of advancing to the last 16. The team is undefeated in 13 matches, its last loss coming against USA in an exhibition game more than a year ago. Odds compilers rank Germany alongside Argentina as joint second-favorites to win the tournament behind host nation Brazil.

‘Outstanding Position’

Achieving the target for soccer-merchandise sales of 2 billion euros this year will confirm “our outstanding position as the clear number one in football globally,” Chief Executive Officer Herbert Hainer said at a press conference.

The company will sell more than 14 million Brazuca World Cup match balls in 2014, an increase of 1 million on 2010, Hainer said.

Adidas is trying to fend off U.S. rival Nike Inc. in the $17 billion global soccer-products market. The company, which has a half-century history in the sport, is a tournament sponsor and has a marketing deal with Argentina’s Lionel Messi. It also sponsors national teams including Argentina and Mexico.

Nike, which entered the soccer market in 1994, boasts Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo as its main spokesman and sponsors teams including Brazil, the U.S. and France. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results June 26, when investors will learn by how much its soccer sales topped the more than $2 billion achieved last year.

Both companies are shifting ad spending from television to social media sites including Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to promote their brands and connect with young consumers.

Adidas last month reported a 34 percent decline in first-quarter profit as falling revenue at its TaylorMade golf business compounded the effect on earnings of a strong euro.

Adidas fell 0.2 percent to 74.8 euros in Frankfurt today. The shares have dropped 19 percent this year, compared with a 4 percent rise in Germany’s DAX Index.

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