Puma bets on the fastest man in the world at Rio. “We are looking forward to the Olympic Games in Rio, where great athletes like Usain Bolt will be wearing our innovative and design-oriented products,” said Puma CEO Björn Gulden when presenting the quarterly figures. Puma pays a good ten million dollars a year to the world record holder over 100 and 200 meters.
Bolt is the trophy of Puma’s “Olympic team”, which for the first time also includes other track and field athletes from Barbados with medal chances. Puma is not an official sponsor of the Olympics.
Usain Bolt is to spur on the company from Herzogenaurach, Bavaria that is fighting for market share at the Olympics – just as French soccer star Antoine Griezmann did at the European Football Championship. Thanks to Griezmann, who was the top scorer in the Euro 2016 and also awarded best player, the currency-adjusted sales at Puma rose by 12.8 percent in the last quarter.
Of course, compared to the Olympics, football has a different value for sporting goods companies. Millions of shirts are sold at major soccer events – Adidas made two billion euros in turnover from shirt sales at the 2014 World Cup. At the Olympics, on the other hand, sales are boosted more indirectly.
“Hardly any of the German Olympic team’s kit is bought by fans. At the Olympics the major sports disciplines are represented; here it’s all about visibility and brand presence. In this way the brand image is promoted,” explained an Adidas spokesman at the presentation of the German Olympic clothing. For the first time, the brand that can be recognized by its three stripes is responsible for all of the German Olympic team’s kit – this also includes the outfits for the opening ceremony. This cost millions.
The Adidas clothing for the British Olympic team was designed by star designer Stella McCartney. In addition, hundreds of top stars are directly sponsored by Adidas, such as Novak Djokovic. However, in contrast to at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, Adidas is not an official partner at Rio. “We decided against it in Brazil because, in terms of visibility, we are already well positioned thanks to the World Cup there two years ago,” says a spokeswoman.
Unlike its three major rivals in the sporting goods industry, Nike is an “official supplier” of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The world market leader had to pay tens of millions for this privilege – but as a result can advertise using the words Olympics and Rio 2016. The US giant has contracts with 8000 athletes worldwide. This includes some of the biggest stars at the Olympics – like top earners such as Kevin Durant, Serena Williams and Neymar.
Basketball star Durant earns an estimated 300 million dollars from his 10-year contract with Nike. President of the Nike Brand, Trevor Edwards: “When it comes to great athletes, I would always choose the Nike squad.” He hopes that the Olympic Games will help Nike out of its mini-crisis after a weak second quarter.
Newcomer Under Armour conquered for the first time at the Olympics in Rio. The Under Armour company sales grew in the second quarter by a whopping 28 percent to 1 billion dollars. The US company is ranked number two worldwide, behind Nike and before Adidas. The 2016 Olympics in Rio comes at exactly the right time to demonstrate this new confidence.
The star athlete among about 250 athletes sponsored by Under Armour is undoubtedly US swimming star Michael Phelps. With 18 Olympic victories, he is the most successful athlete of all time. He celebrates his big comeback at Rio, as well as a second departure from competitive sports. Wimbledon champion Andy Murray also promotes the newest giant, who is not an official Olympic sponsor –
but is still very present in Rio. For example, outdoor gyms have been rented for fans on beaches, so they can do their workout there. Peter Murray, Vice Preside of Sports Marketing at Under Armour: “We are trying to expand the brand worldwide and the Olympics will play a role in this. We are only just beginning.”
The sporting goods companies are fighting with their gloves off for market share – and for the stars of the show. In 2014, for example, Nike beat Under Armour in the battle for superstar Kevin Durant. Under Armour countered an alleged 200-million dollar offer from Nike for a ten-year contract with a monster offer valued at up to 285 million dollars. Nike then outbid Under Armour and signed a ten-year contract with Durant for 300 million dollars.
As leader of the US dream team in Rio, the 2012 Olympic champion plays a major role in the Olympic campaign by Nike. However, the world-leading company hasn’t always come out on top. In the US, Adidas increasingly snatches more and more stars from Nike in sports like football and baseball. And outside of the sporting word: Kanye West, millionaire rapper and husband of Kim Kardashian, collaborated with Nike in 2013. He now promotes Adidas.