Nike football. Nike soccer. According to Forbes Nike is the world's second most valuable sports brand after the TV network ESPN. Nike entered the soccer scene relatively late. In the early 1990s soccer gear made up an insignificant share of the total revenues of Nike. By then Nike sold for some 20$ million dollars worth of soccer apparel , footwear , and equipment worldwide. By 2007 this number had grown to more than 1.5$ billion dollars and while still growing the soccer business was already being an important source of revenue. Nike achieved this spectacular growth primarily through 3 distinct factors: endorsements , product developments , and production & distribution. While endorsements by teams and athletes of sports wear companies had been around for quite some time the significance of these endorsement became more crucial during the 1980s in US sports and in soccer during the 1990s with more and broader TV coverage, increased interest by the public in professional sports , the professionalisation of sports, and the growing fan culture. Nike achieved spectacular success by the endorsement of Michael Jordan of its´ sneakers which would set the tone for the whole industry over the years to come. Tentatively Nike signed deals with Paris Saint-Germain (France) in 1989 and Dortmund (Germany) in 1990. The big push into soccer would not come until the mid-1990s though when the company realized that sooner or later continued growth would come primarily from oversea's markets rather than from North America. While Nike sold for 20$ per capita in the USA in the late 1990s it only sold for 5 or 6 $ per capita in European countries and even less in the developing world. A part from North America and Oceania - the world plays soccer and soccer is the by far most popular sport globally. Therefore any push to expand across the world not just in soccer gear but in all lines would come through increased awareness of the brand which would best be achieved through a dominant position in the soccer market. Of the 24 teams participating in the World Cup 1994 in the USA - 0 teams played in Nike not even the US national team. 4 years later in 1998 6 teams played in Nike. Nike's 4 top team national teams which were all signed around 1996 are Brazil , Holland , Portugal , and the USA. Nike also started to sign deals with individual soccer players to wear Nike boots. Below one can see an outline of the development in the Nike jerseys and namekits throughout the past 4 major international tournaments. Starting in 2011 also France will wear a Nike uniform.
By the late 1990s and after that Nike had secured a number of national teams to wear its jerseys Nike started to sign deals with many European soccer clubs. In US sports the league signs athletic gear and technical sponsor deals on behalf of all clubs. Thus all NFL teams play in Reebok. All NBA teams play in Adidas etc. In Europe each club signs its' own deal. Nike signed up with Arsenal (England) starting from the season 1994/95 , Inter Milan (Italy) 1998/99 , FC Barcelona (Spain) 1998/99 , Valencia (Spain) 2000/01. The basic strategy was to get the or one of the top teams from any one country since the European market is still segmented along the lines of the nation states. If the top team was currently not available and locked up in a long-term deal with another company Nike would wait until the contract expired and then make a bid for taking over.
In the first decade of the 21st century Nike would sign deals or had already signed deals with a number of other clubs in various European countries such as Spartak Moscow (Russia) , FC Porto (Portugal) , Steaua Bucharest (Romania) , PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) , and Sparta Prague (Czech Republic). Atletico Madrid would join the ranks of Nike sponsored clubs in 2001 and two of the world's biggest clubs would follow shortly. Manchester United was taken over from Umbro after 10 years in Umbro in 2002 and Juventus was taken over from Lotto for the season 2003/04. While the big rush of expansion was over by then there are still minor adjustments taking place from time to time. Celtic (Scotland) became a Nike team in 2005 and Aston Villa (England) in 2007. Nike is now the kit sponsor for 4 out of the world's 10 biggest clubs by revenue: Deloitte Football Money League
Likewise is Nike sponsoring a number of clubs and individual soccer players in other parts of the world. Boca Juniors from Buenos Aires in Argentina , Flamengo from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil , Corinthians from Sao Paulo in Brazil etc. Nike is sponsoring 9 out of the 25 top soccer brands in the world according to Forbes: soccer team valuations
But while grabbing attention from the display of colourful uniforms is important soccer (or football) is a game played by the feet and by kicking a ball. Therefore in order to become a market leader in soccer gear it is necessary to have a strong presence in the footwear market and to a less extent in the production of soccer balls. In the beginning Nike had some trouble catching up with the likes of Adidas and Puma when it came to technical prowess. But in 1998 Nike launched the first pair of mercurial vapor boots which changed the industry around. Rather than being made of leather as traditional boots the mercurial vapor was made from a very light and artificial material. This gave the player increased speed and better ball control. Nike produces a number of lines of boots to meet different demands. Some of the better known models of Nike soccer boots are shown here.
Nike Tiempo Air Legend boots
Nike Tiempo Ronaldinho boots
Nike Mercurial Vapor boots
Nike Total 90 Laser boots
While it has been difficult for Nike to gain prominence in the production , marketing , and branding of soccer balls since Adidas is running longterm deals with both the UEFA and FIFA Nike has secured deals to produce the balls for the UEFA Cup , the Spanish LFP , the English Premier League , and the Italian Serie A. Nike soccer balls:
Below you can find all Nike soccer products available. In order to narrow the search for specific products down one can use the menu to the left hand side above.
Premier League soccer ball
La Liga soccer ball
Serie A soccer ball
UEFA Cup soccer ball