Nine days before the start of Europe’s quadrennial soccer championship, five stars of the powerhouse German national team accepted a dramatic delivery. Skydivers descended on their training camp bearing the adidas stan smith cleats that Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller, Mats Hummels, Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger would wear during play in France.Oezil, an attacking midfielder with 11 million followers on Twitter, quickly flashed video of the hand-off to his rabid fans. The same day, striker Mueller did the same to his 2.76 million followers.
adidas originals superstar, Nike Inc. and Puma SE are relying more on individuals to sell cleats and jerseys during the monthlong Euro 2016 tournament, the year’s top event for the biggest sports-gear suppliers that starts on Friday. Adidas, roughly tied for market share with Nike in the $5 billion global soccer-gear market, is banking on top players’ ability to reach fans directly and shifting a larger part of its $2.7 billion annual marketing budget toward them compared with the big team sponsorships that defined its past.Adidas has also exited sponsorships with German Bundesliga clubs in Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Nuremberg.
adidas originals sneakers and its rivals view the Euro tournament as the premier marketing event for sports brands this year, eclipsing the Copa America in the U.S., where Adidas’ Argentine star Lionel Messi has been sidelined with a back injury, and the Summer Olympics in Brazil, which isn’t seen as a big catalyst for jersey and sneaker sales.In addition to the German stars, whose national team won the World Cup two summers ago, Adidas plans to promote France’s Paul Pogba, 23, during the Euros. The company last month ended its deal with English club Chelsea, worth about $438 million over a decade, six years ahead of time.