Olympics brings opportunities to sportswear manufacturers

Friday, 30 March 2012
With more than 205 countries participating at the summer 2012 Olympic Games in London it really is offering sportswear manufacturers plenty of opportunities. With 19 days of competition and global coverage, any brands involved with the Olympic Games will gain global exposure, according to a recent report by Euromonitor.

This exposure will be particularly high for the world’s top three sports apparel and footwear manufacturers, Nike, adidas and Puma, all of which will be represented at the Games, and with only five months until the opening ceremony, each brand is upping their activity to make the most of the event that only comes around every four years.

As the second largest sportswear manufacturer, adidas signed up as an official Olympic partner in a deal reportedly costing £100m, with the intention of using it as a ‘springboard to overtake its arch-rival Nike’. Currently Nike accounts for 0.9 per cent of the total UK apparel market, compared to adidas’ 0.5 per cent, and in terms of footwear, Nike also comes out on top with 4 per cent of the share and adidas with just 2 per cent.

Adidas’ intentions to come out on top were certainly noted at the recent launch of its Team GB kit, which included a catwalk-style presentation with its creative director, Stella McCartney at the historical London Bridge setting, and included numerous press calls for adidas-dressed British athletes. As official partner, adidas isn’t just kitting out Team GB athletes but it is also dressing the 70,000 Olympic volunteers, and will be selling Olympic-themed and branded clothes in its stores, including a premium capsule collection designed by McCartney, which launches in May.

However, Euromonitor added that Nike isn’t going to ‘let adidas steal its share that easily’, as while it might not be an official sponsor of the Olympics, the brand is kitting out the USA, Russian, Chinese, and German teams, all of which are expected to be towards the top of the medals leader board. It also has a number of individual deals with many athletes including British stars such as cyclist Mark Cavandish, who was used in its ‘Make It Count’ campaign. The brand also has the added advantage of having a prime retail spot in Westfield Stratford, which sits next to the Olympic site and is expecting a high footfall during the course of the games.

Taking up the bronze medal position is Puma, like Nike, it isn’t an official sponsor of the Olympics, but they are expecting a lot of exposure from its sponsorship of the world’s fastest man and 100m gold medal favourite Usain Bolt. The third largest sportswear manufacturer is also kitting out the rest of the Jamaican team, and like with adidas it has signed up a famous face to design the kit, Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s eldest daughter, which Euromonitor commented as a ‘savvy move’, opening up the brand to a wider audience than just sport fans.

Which podium position each brand will sit on after the Olympics is still to be revealed, but one thing is certain that the Olympics is going to drive big ad campaigns, new technology and column inches for all involved. The opportunities aren’t limited to the sportswear industry as only last month Keynote released research forecasting a 4.2 per cent increase in clothing sales during 2012, with the growth largely attributable to the London Olympics.

Related News