Nike has hit back at Adidas after the German company claimed to be the biggest football sportwear brand.
Charlie Denson, president of Nike, told the Financial Times: “I believe we already are number one. But our objective is to make sure that it’s not a debate.”
His comments come after Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer this week challenged Nike in the run up to the World Cup, claiming his German company can increase its lead over the US sportswear giant as the number one football sportswear brand.
Denson said “he couldn’t be happier” with its marketing effort, which features many of the World Cup footballers after Hainer said he was unimpressed with Nike’s expensive advertisement, adding that his brand is “more creative in our football marketing than Nike.”
Adidas, which is the market leader by value, has been squeezed by number-two Nike in recent years as the US company spent increasing amounts of money on sponsorship deals with football teams and advertising campaigns.
“We know that our competitor is spending a lot of money, more than us, but we are still market leader, and I think there is a good chance to expand this leadership with the World Cup 2010,” Hainer told the Financial Times. “With what I have seen so far in terms of activities and in our sales numbers, I am more than satisfied.”
Adidas is supplying kit to 12 of the 32 teams competing in the World Cup and also supplies the balls and uniforms for officials as a sponsor of international football federation FIFA.
Adidas said it expected this year’s sales of football merchandise to surpass the record €1.3bn (£1bn) it achieved in 2008.