I often point out the two horse race between adidas and Nike who sponsor the most powerful therefore successful teams. However this year, Nike has a stronger representation with 5 teams out of 8!
At the start of the Champions League season, adidas, Nike and Puma had respectively 14, 10 and 3 teams. We can say that the ratio is more or less the same gearing towards the 1/4 finals.
However, based on my records, Nike never had more teams than adidas at that stage of the competition. This is what the breakdown looks like:
Since 1993, date of the Champions League as we now know it, adidas and Nike teams trusted the finals. It’s quite obvious as the 2 giants share the best european teams, but it has not always been the case. In this article, I outlined 3 distinct periods:
1993-1999: Everybody’s happy
1. No less than 6 team sponsors had an exposure during the Champions League finals.
2. Very regional sponsorship. Italian teams with italian brands (AC Milan with Lotto and Juventus with Kappa). Spanish teams with spanish brands (Real Madrid with Kelme). Manchester United was sponsored by manchester based football brand Umbro.
2000-2005: adidas leadership
1. adidas had a strong leading position with 4 consecutive wins, 2 runner up teams, and a full adidas final in 2003
2. Nike and Puma are still in the race with a gold medal in 2004 and a second spot in 2001 for the Beaverton firm. Jochen Zeitz’s Puma has an only appearance in 2004 with AS Monaco.
3. Regional sponsorship is no more. Valencia switched from Luanvi to Nike in 2001. Real Madrid and AC Milan are now adidas teams. Only Juventus remains with the italian brand Lotto….for now.
2006-2010: The pie is for two only
1. Since 2006, the Champions League finals have always featured adidas and Nike teams.
2. Nike is increasing its presence by starting off in 2006 with a full Champions League final in Paris. Since 2008 the swoosh won the Champions League 3 times in a row, confirming its increasing presence with Inter’s victory yesterday.
3. In that period, adidas has ended up as runner ups more often than Nike.
4. No regional sponsors, Puma is not even present.
So as it stands, since 1993 there is a tie between the teams sponsors who “won” the Champions League. Seven trophies each! Who will take the lead?