Adidas was founded in 1949 by Adi Dassler (adi-das) and was originally involved in the production of sport's shoes. In soccer Adidas was first known on the international scene in 1954 when the company supplied the footwear for the German national team winning the FIFA World Cup 1954 in Switzerland ("Das Wunder von Bern"). In 1963 the first Adidas soccer balls appeared and since the World Cup 1970 in Mexico Adidas has supplied the official soccer ball for the World Cup. In 1967 Adidas started to produce apparel as well in the beginning in cooperation with Le Coq Sportif. Later on independently. During the 1970s and the 1980s adidas' fiercest competitor within soccer was another German company Puma and to a certain extent the English company Umbro. Only during the 1990s did Nike appear on the stage to produce soccer boots , soccer balls , apparel , and equipment and started to challenge Adidas as the number 1 soccer brand. Adidas is generating the most revenue from its' footwear lines of business while the apparel comes in second while hardware and equipment (balls , bags , guards etc.) make up a much smaller proportion of the total sales. While Adidas has effectively been the technical sponsor of the German national team since 1954 they also have longstanding contracts with other teams: French national team since 1972. Marseille since 1972. Bayern München since the 1970s etc. During the 1970s and the 1980s almost all German Bundesliga teams played in Adidas.
Increasingly the namekits have become a more and more important factor in the design and outfit of the soccer uniform. Below is a table with the evolution of the Adidas uniforms and namekits during the past 6 years. The style is rather similar from year to year. From 2002 and until 2006 the same namekit served. Otherwise it is usually replaced with a new one for every 2 years just before the start of a new major tournament.
Club sponsorships. Club endorsements. Adidas is sponsoring a long list of soccer teams across the world including some of the world's premier clubs. The company was in big financial trouble during a spell in the late 1980s and the early 1990s and had to let go of some of its' more lucrative sponsorship deals during this period. However, by the late 1990s things started to turn around for the company and it started to sign a number of deals with high profile clubs. Real Madrid and AC Milan were both signed in 1998. Ajax and Benfica around the year 2000, and finally in 2006 Liverpool came back to Adidas after Reebok was acquired by Adidas and Chelsea was added as a new signing.
Among the teams that Adidas had managed to keep along the way even during the difficult times were FC Bayern Munich and Olympique Marseille. Other notably European clubs sponsored by Adidas are Galatasaray , Panathinaikos , Brondby IF , Rosenborg , Dynamo Kiev , Lokomotiv Moskva , HSV , Schalke 04 , Fenerbahce, and Anderlecht.
Adidas however is not only sponsoring European teams. It has also have a number of sponsor deals with clubs from other parts of the world e.g. the US Major League Soccer. The Brazilian clubs Palmeiras and Fluminense. The Argentinian club River Plate. The South African club Orlando Pirates. Egyptian team Zamalek. FC Tokyo of Japan and FC Seoul of South Korea and many more..
As mentioned above Adidas has supplied the ball to the FIFA World Cup since 1970. It has also supplied the official match ball to UEFA European Championship since the 1970s and since the 1980s with a unique match ball for each specific EURO tournament. To see more click here to see the Adidas Ball History! A new ball will of course launch for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Another lucrative deal Adidas has with UEFA is for the Champions League match ball. Click here to see the Champions League match ball and other soccer balls
The initial Adidas core competence was the footwear though. And still today the biggest chunk of its' sales comes from the footwear division including soccer boots. As early as in 1954 was the German national soccer team wearing Adidas boots during the World Cup 1954 in Switzerland. For the World Cup 1982 Adidas launched a boot in 1979 called Copa Mundial (the Spanish word was used to emphazise that the "World Cup" took place in Spain - the word means World Cup) which has become the all time best selling soccer boot. Now a days Adidas has 3 primary lines of boots. Adidas Predator from 1994 , Adidas F50 tuneit from 1994 , and Adidas Adipure from 2008. These 3 lines have different characteristics appealing to different kind of players.
Adidas Copa Mundial World Cup
Adidas F50 tuneit
The World Cup 2010 in South Africa will be a big event for Adidas since it is the World's biggest sporting event and because Adidas is the official sponsor. So most likely they will use the opportunity to launch new designs , new technologies and maybe and entire new line of boots for this premier event.