Champions League: The Two Horse Race Continues

Hi everyone,Champions League 2013 Wembley
The 2013 Champions League final saw the dominance of German football, two fantastic teams from an underestimated Bundesliga. On a sports marketing standpoint, Bayern Munich victory gave adidas the lead on the amount of sponsored team victories in Champions League.

I often point out that the Champions League is a two horse race between adidas and Nike. The 2013 final proved me wrong with Puma’s Borussia Dortmund in Wembley. What can we learn?

Champions League sponsors ranking

Since 1993, adidas sponsored teams lift the Champions League trophy 8 times, Nike sponsored teams 7 times. The last time a Puma team reached the Champions League final was in 2004 with Monaco. The last time a non adidas or Nike team lift the trophy was in 2005 when Liverpool was sponsored by Reebok.

It’s been 2 years in a row that the Swoosh has not had a team in the Champions League final. Does it have an impact on Nike’s involvement and exposure in football? Does that mean Nike teams are lesser great than those of their competitors? Of course not.

The bottom line is a less brand visibility for Nike, knowing that the Swoosh cannot use the Champions League marks since the brand is neither an official Champions League partner nor sponsor.

Puma prove again that they always bet on the “right horse”. Puma had 3 teams at the beginning of the Champions League, only one when the 1/4 finals kicked off and that team made it all the way to the final. Pretty impressive. A similar scenario happened in 2006 when Italy won the World Cup with Puma gear.

It’s difficult to tell whether it was the result of quality vs quantity, but BVB in Wembley was a tremendous marketing opportunity for Puma. 

As far as I am concerned, the Champions League is still a two horse race. Just looking at the chart to see the dominance of red and yellow is self explanatory. Bayern Munich won the Champions League this year and adidas is leading the race. Does that translate into a clear cut adidas leadership in football? Share your thoughts!

Karl Lusbec

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