November 17, 2010: The last Game of Les Bleus with 3-stripes

Hi everyone,
Today France will play a friendly game against England in Wembley. “Les bleus” will be wearing an adidas kit for the last time, as Nike will take over from January 2011. Nike agreed a seven-and-a half-season contract, worth €320 million deal to sponsor the French national football team from 2011. A €42.6 million deal per season.

Les bleus were sponsored by adidas since 1972, and enjoyed fantastic successes and also faced big failures. In the successes column, I will with no surprise refer to the World Cup victory in 1998 where Zidane and mates impressed the world with a very inspirational way of playing football. A winning streak confirmed by becoming Euro champions in 2000 in Holland-Belgium. FFF and adidas also celebrated the Platini generation, especially in 1984 where the current UEFA President lift the Euro Championship trophy in Paris.

On of the biggest failure is with any doubt the all-level fiasco in South Africa in 2010. Sporting, image, marketing, public love: failure all the way. The World Cup 2002 in Korea and Japan where France did not score a single goal is also to be pinned on the wall of shame at the FFF headquarters.

38 years of adidas where the football world was used to seeing “les bleus” with 3 striped sleeves. In January, a new era begins and the swoosh will take over. I decided today to give you an overview of the French Football National team kits since 1984. You will note a gap in 1990 and 1994. In fact, France was not qualified for the US and Italian World Cups.

(Couldn’t find a team picture…)

Euro 2008

So a new marketing era is about to start within french football. As a football marketer, I am looking forward to seeing Nike’s marketing campaign around FFF and what kit design they will come up with. A big task ahead of the Beaverton firm as they take the torch after a despicable World Cup failure. Another reason to keep a strong scrutiny on Nike’s marketing activations.

Karl Lusbec

PS: July 12 2012, Thanks SDL I updated the Euro 2008 picture. Many thanks for this!


9 thoughts on “November 17, 2010: The last Game of Les Bleus with 3-stripes

  1. Karl,

    It is definately going to be change of pace. I am eager to see the stunts Nike will introduce to recoup that money back.

    Karl, I wanted to bring your attention to a couple of clubs sporting in-house brands, Standard de Liege and UD Almeria. You, being a Consultant, what do you think are the SWOT of an in-house brand?


  2. Hi FABO,
    Local kit manufacturers are relevant for football clubs that have less “financial appeal”. The big three are more and more focusing on major clubs and leave purposely (I would think) 2nd – 3rd tier clubs to smaller or local kit manufacturers. This is my quick SWOT.

    Quick turnaround in specific team requirements –> More flexibility
    Regional (potentially national) relevance

    Low sponsorship fee
    Zero global appeal
    Low quality products –> cheap looking
    Lack of new technology

    Get recognition if the team is having a great season

    Local brand bankruptcy


  3. Karl,

    If this is the case then, why would Adidas and Nike acquire Reebok and Umbro respectively? Out the twenty teams in the EPL last year, sixteen were outfitted by the “Big Three.” However, the number has been reduced to thirteen this year.

    Stoke City is not considered one of the top teams in the EPL yet, Adidas went after them as well as relegated side, Hull City. Meanwhile, Puma jumped on Burnley. In addition, Adidas also contracted Middlesbrough in the Championship.

    It appears that not only do they want a large piece of the pie but, they intend on eating the whole thing.




  4. Hi FABO,
    adidas and Nike acquired Reebok and Umbro for strategic reasons. However, all brands keep their identity and values. They remain competitors to a certain extend. Nike and adidas will keep on outfitting few 2nd 3rd tier teams, but their focus will be on key major clubs. It’s all a choice between quantity and quality, with all due respect to Stoke City or Brest….


  5. Hello Karl, this is a really nice blog!

    Thanks for posting about Les Bleus. They do looked good a lot of the time with Adidas.

    A little correction for Euro 2008, the bi-color (blue/white) jersey you featured was only worn after the fiasco, for the World Cup 2010 qualifications. For the Euro, this is the one:

    Interestingly, the FFR just switched back to Adidas after 15 years with Nike

    Morgan Parra posing

    Cheers !


  6. Hi SDL,
    Thanks for this, you’re right FFF used a blue jersey with a printed red stripe across the chest. I ammended the article.
    Thanks and welcome here!


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