After slipping behind Under Armour in the sportswear market earlier this year, No. 3 #adidas is launching an all-out effort to show it has got game in the U.S. market and will use popular athletes in mainstream sports to make itself relevant to consumers here.
“I know we’re a soccer brand globally, but in the U.S. we have to be about U.S. sport. We can still be No. 1 in soccer, but that can’t be what drives our business,” Adidas North American President Mark King tells the Wall Street Journal’s Sara Germano.
The company could sign as many “as many as 250 National Football League players and 250 Major League Baseball players over the next three years, up from a total of fewer than 40 now,” Germano reports, although “the new goal doesn’t mean Adidas will actually be able to add that many athletes or secure worthwhile deals.”
A deal with the #nfl earlier this year allows Adidas’ endorsers to wear the brand’s three-stripe logos on their equipment, as Germano reports. Previously, only No. 1 “Nike and Under Armour athletes were allowed to wear cleats and gloves with branding since both companies had official status with the NFL,” ESPN’s Darren Rovell pointed out in October.
Basketball will be a big part of the mix, too, if a release party at Adidas’ U.S. headquarters in Portland, Ore., yesterday for a new shoe endorsed by the Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard is any indication.