1. The Daily Telegraph has reported that Arsenal are set to switch to Adidas. It is understood that Adidas is hoping to renew an association with Arsenal that ended in the mid-1990s after taking the strategic decision to “own” London. Adidas, who sponsor Chelsea as well, is also believed to be set to conclude a deal with Fulham. Anyhow, Nike cannot “allow” Adidas to “own” one of the biggest football markets in Europe. Not having a major team in London will hurt Nike on the long run. Especially when their new big rivals – Under Armour – have a great sponsorship asset in London (Tottenham).
2. According to the reports Adidas will pay about €31m per season to Arsenal. Nike pays Manchester United about €31m per season and Chelsea get about €24.8 per season from Adidas. Arsenal sell more shirts (about 800,000 per season) than most teams in Europe and about 320,000 more than Nike’s next biggest shirt seller – Juventus. That’s a lot of shirt sales to lose.
3. Nike recently signed with The F.A, Everton and Manchester City and their marketing men might think: “that’s enough English sponsorship assets”. However, supporters-wise Arsenal are a much bigger entity. If you look at the Facebook numbers then Arsenal have more than 11.5m fans (With Bangkok the most popular city), Man City have 3.5m fans (Manchester is the most popular city), England has 1.7m have (London is the most popular city) and Everton have about 270k fans on Facebook (Liverpool is the most popular city). Arsenal are more popular and a lot more international than Nike’s new teams. Yes, Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world and the third biggest on Facebook, but losing 11.5m fans (most of them from the emerging markets) to the biggest rivals… Well… That’s going to be very hard swallow for Nike .
4. Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both signed with Nike. Potentially they might be two of the greatest English players in the next decade and a half. It’s bad for the Nike brand to have both of them will be wearing an Adidas jersey week in-week out.
5. Nike was wounded by Tiger Woods’ antics, the jailing of the NFL player Michael Vick (because his part in a dog-fighting scene) and, more recently, witnessed the fall from grace of Lance Armstrong. Arsenal might not be the most successful team Nike has in its portfolio but the club is second to none class wise. Nike can be sure that Arsenal will always stay classy and clean – and that alone is worth more than £25m per season.
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