Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tradition Trumps $$$

The German FA and Adidas might have agreed on a new contract for supplying the national team, that doesn't mean that everyone is happy about it. As the AP reports:
Many Bundesliga clubs felt the German Soccer Federation should have negotiated a more lucrative deal, using the leverage of a nine-month battle between Adidas and Nike, which aims to become the sport's top brand by the World Cup in 2010.

"The whole thing appears to have gone poorly," said Roland Kentsch, Arminia Bielefeld's business manager. "The federation could have gotten the sum raised in the direction of the Nike offer."

By spurning the Nike offer and signing with Adidas from 2011 through 2018, the federation will lose about €250 million (US$340 million) and the Bundesliga teams will have €50 million (US$68 million) less to split up.

"The loss of income certainly isn't something desirable," said Horst Heldt, manager of German champions VfB Stuttgart.

The Bundesliga said the federation failed to involve the league in negotiations, and that the lost millions would most hurt small German clubs on shoestring budgets. It also said Germany was locked in with a supplier for too many years.

"We think the length of a contract like that is too long in a constantly changing economic situation," said Bundesliga president Reinhard Rauball, who nonetheless said the league wouldn't contest the deal.

Some Bundesliga officials have told German media they suspect "protectionism" by the federation. Adidas is a German company that has supplied the national team since before its first World Cup triumph in 1954.

How this affects Nike's quest to overtake Adidas as the sports top brand, I guess we'll have to wait and see. Either way, the brand with three strips has scored quite the coup.

German Soccer Association and Adidas Seal New Kit Contract [Deutsche Welle]
German soccer clubs bitter despite Germany's record sportswear deal [International Herald Tribune]


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