With Euro 2016's kick off imminent, competition between the sport's biggest brands, Nike and Adidas, is already starting to take shape, a new report shows who's taking the lead across the player endorsements, kit deals and social media battles.
As the two sportswear brands gear-up to maximise the advertising and sponsorship potential around the tournament, sports marketing agency Repucom has analysed the standings of the two giants ahead of today's official kick off in Paris.
The European Football Report shows that Adidas is continuing its 20-year winning streak in supplying kits for the tournament with nine of the 24 teams (37 per cent) competing in the tournament wearing kits manufactured by the German sports giant. Nike, meanwhile, has six (25 per cent) teams kitted out, with Puma closely behind with five (21 per cent) and four other kit suppliers making up the remaining jerseys.
The estimated value of Adidas' top player endorsements at the tournament will include France’s Paul Pogba (+€4m), Wales’ Gareth Bale (+€4m) and Germany’s Mesut Özil (+€3m). Of those players competing in Euro 2016, Nike has invested more into its catalogue of brand ambassadors with the likes of Portugal’s three-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo (+€19m), England’s Wayne Rooney (+€3m) and Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimović (+€1.5m).
Brand presence is almost meaningless if brand's fail to activate it across their digital platforms and Nike are well positioned to capitalise on this with its huge social media numbers which dwarf those of Adidas.
On Twitter, Adidas’ 2.9m football and soccer followers are outnumbered by Nike’s 4.6m. Whilst on Facebook, the gulf is even larger with Nike Football’s page enjoying over 42.2m followers, compared to Adidas’s 21.8m.
The engagement across social platforms is key, however, and Max Barnett, head of digital at Repucom, points out that the "true measure of whether Nike or Adidas is winning the battle of the brands online will be seen much closer to the kick off of Euro 2016.
"In general, fan engagement starts to build as little as 48 hours before the event, in this case the start of the tournament. For brands to maximise their organic reach and to optimise their media spends, this is the time to activate Hero content," he said.
This is where Ronaldo and Pogba will be key; the 2015 Rugby World Cup illustrated the power that popular brand ambassadors can have in generating engagement across social. Following this strategy, Beats by Dre was able to generate almost eight times the social media value than a more well established rugby sponsor like Guinness, with Beats’ activation around the opening game leading to 50m views, compared to Guinness’ 13m.
Barnett also pointed out that video content "delivers much higher engagement rates" and with Nike's Ronaldo ad being received so well, Adidas will have some catching up to do when they reveal its content with Pogba.