Dear Adidas, Bienvenue on Nike’s home turf! For the very first time in UEFA Euro history, this tournament is really Nike’s chance to steal your Euro Trophy. Compared to four years ago, Nike’s chances almost doubled from 23% to 43%, yours dropped from 60% to 45%.
It is important to win – for financial reasons but also for brand building. Each shirt supplier wants the picture-perfect moment of their team holding the trophy: great brand exposure that is guaranteed to go viral via social media and be repeated endlessly.
With the exception of one freak year in 1992 when the Danes dressed in Hummel won, the Euro Cup has been adidas’ territory for more than 40 years ever since 1972. But now with France hosting the tournament, it looks like the chances for a Nike-sponsored team look better than ever!
EURO WINNERS 1972 - 2012
2012 Spain (adidas)
2008 Spain (adidas)
2004 Greece (adidas)
2000 France (adidas)
1996 Germany (adidas)
1992 Denmark (Hummel)
1988 Netherlands (adidas)
1984 France (adidas)
1980 Germany (adidas)
1976 Czech Republic (adidas)
1972 Germany (adidas)
In a portfolio analysis four years ago, IMD Professor Arturo Bris and I analyzed the chances for Adidas to keep the cup. And so it did: adidas’ Spain won the finals at the expense of Puma’s Italy. Nike’s top teams then were Portugal (losing from Spain on penalties) and France (reaching the quarterfinals). This time Nike’s hope is to have one of its teams enter the Final at the Stade de France on Sunday July 10th . Ideally, with Les Bleus, the french Nike hosts themselves. Even with them ultimately holding the Trophy as a Golden Dream. And today, the first Nike team qualified for the next round, the Round of 16.
Rules changed, so did the chances
In anticipation of Nike’s ambition and home advantage, adidas took extra measures to defend its cup. Like four years ago, the fight for sponsoring the best and winning teams had again intensified. Partly helped by the change of rules: UEFA made the tournament bigger and longer. One whole month with one week longer; and it allowed eight more teams to – instead of 16 in 2012, 24 teams have entered this year’s EURO. So, adidas in its effort to defend its football domain recruited five new teams: Belgium, Slovakia, Hungary and Northern Ireland. Of which only the first one is expected to have a higher than fair-share chance of getting far. These extra teams are to compensate for the loss in strength of its old EURO 2012 team portfolio. Mainly Spain (-15%) and Germany (-4%) have lower expectations to win. Sweden was converted from Umbro (currently a Nike subsidiary).
Nike has 6 teams in this year’s tournament, one team more. The dramatic increase in its chances mainly comes from better chances for its existing teams – first France, followed by Croatia, Poland, and Portugal. England exchanged its Umbro kit for Nike’s. Puma retained its strongholds: Italy and Czech Republic.
© copyright 2016 Willem Smit – Asia School of Business in collaboration with MIT Sloan
Picture credits: IMD http://www.imd.org/research/challenges/euro-2012-sports-brands-arturo-bris-willem-smit.cfm
Source: probabilities to win come from the betting odds averages over 26 different English bookies -- http://www.oddschecker.com/football/euro-2016/winner
ASB Professor of Marketing. International Faculty Fellow at MIT Sloan. I feel privileged to be part of starting a premier BSchool in the midst of SouthEast Asia