Thursday, August 16

Impossible is nothing.

So this isn't another post about a new and fancy campaign of our beloved sportsbrand with the three stripes. No, this is the story about a relationship lasting over 50 years. Wonderful years of mutual success. Times of neverending pioneer work. It's the history of adidas (or to be more precise of Adi Dassler) and the German national football team. Adi and his abiding love for sports on the one side and a great football nation on the other side. Here a man that developed state of the art sports equipment to make sportsmen even better. And there a team winning the world cup three times and rocketing the sales of adidas products in the sky.
This relationship is special. Because both are German success stories for the most parts of their history. Like back in 1954 when Helmut Rahn plus 10 beat the vastly superior Hungarian team in the finals of Bern.
And with the success of one partner the other got successful and more successful as well. Who doesn't remember the team of 1974 with football heroes like Franz "the Kaiser" Beckenbauer or Gerd "Bomber of the nation" Müller and their spectacular final match against the (again) superior Dutch football team with the likes of Cruyff and Neeskens.
But times got harder for both. Adidas not only had to face the family's own competitor Puma, that was founded by Adi's elder brother Rudolf (a quite interesting story, because the rivalry between the two brothers who both founded their company in Herzogenaurach actually did split the whole town into one adidas camp and a Puma camp). No, adidas had to struggle with the upcoming competitor from Oregon. NIKE. And just as their suporter the German team wasn't the best anymore. So it was quite a surprise when in 1990 a team around Lothar Matthäus, Jürgen Klinsmann and Rudi Völler beat the (again) superior Agentinian crowd led by the "Hand of God", Diego Maradonna.
The last gold age for the German national football team. Because since then the mutual success is gone. Though adidas is still number two, they are unbelievable successful. Only our team has gone through dark times. World cup 1994 and 1998 were horrible. Short highs like in 1996 with the European Championship and 2002 with the second place in the world cup were followed by disastrous competitions in the following years. The only absolute term was the partnership with adidas. But as the team wasn't that successful they were supported with "only" 11 millions Euro per year what is, compared to the French national team, a small amount. But then in 2006 young German football players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose under the leadership of Jürgen Klinsmann achieved the impossible. Thanks to Teamgeist and 80 million people standing behind them like a wall they beat vastly superior teams like Agentinia and Portugal and made the 3rd place in the world cup 2006 in Germany. Germany adored this team. And until now they are playing the best and most successful football throughout Europe. Great for adidas, isn't it?
No. And now after a long story we arrive at the purpose of this post. NIKE wants the German team to wear their logo from 2011. And the offer the unbelievable amount of 500 millions Euro for 8 years (that's over 5 times more than adidas pays right now). Immediately adidas made an offer of 22 million. But the Nike offer is still the double. So what to do?
Forget about a relationship lasting more than 50 years? Or reject an offer that would help to strengthen the youth work in German football? History or Future? Today representatives of adidas and the German football association met in a hotel to talk about the topic. It's a small headline in the news but it's a question worth talking about. So what do you think?


Anonymous Brett said...

As a sponsor, should you not be held up to the same standard as the athletes - you're only as good as your last game. Meaning, history doesn't help you today when you are on the pitch, just the best possible teammates. Adidas should choose whomever will help them win.

1:22 am, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Seb said...

I fully agree Brett, only the question is what the German Football Association should do? Care about history (stay with adidas as sponsor) or about money (sign a contract with NIKE).
The decision was made yesterday. NIKE has lost the battle though adidas will be paying less. Strange, isn't it?

6:59 am, August 17, 2007  
Blogger Will said...

Seb - I'm very pleased for Adidas. As you know, they make the best trainers in the world. ;)

11:39 am, August 26, 2007  
Blogger Seb said...

Oh Will, come on, get out of your Gert Müller special edition whatever pair of adidas. The don't do THE BEST snea....sorry, trainers in the world. They do a few of the best. And I am not that pleased about the German Football Associantion's decision. To be honest I am very disappointed. They justify their decision not to take NIKE's 50 million per year offer because of the long, long history they have with adidas. Hello? Then why isn't adidas paying more than just 25 million per year vice versa. They have a history with our national team as well. And, I am sorry, 25 million more per year that could have been used for youth teams and other important stuff is a fucking good reason to drop adidas for NIKE despite all that historic stuff. History won't win you the world cup 2010, but young players can.

2:07 pm, August 26, 2007  
Blogger Lisa Breslin said...

Ah, but relationships are a very powerful thing and here again it's been proved that they matter more than money.

I'm glad Addidas kept the sponsorship as well, not that I dislike Nike immensley, but I don't like the attitude that offeringt he most money is what is most important. They thought they could shit all over a relationship spanning 50 years by offering tons of money and they were proved wrong. Should be a lesson learned.

But yea, ok, I see your point about financing the future of your national game, but it doesn't all have to come from the FA itself, it can come from the schools and other sports clubs around the country in addition. It's about fostering and growing talent and that can be done though a varity of avenues I think.

5:14 pm, August 28, 2007  

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