Adidas targets US sports stars in bid to close Nike’s marketing dominance

A leading executive at Adidas has admitted that the apparel giant is targeting American sports stars in a bid to close the gap on industry leader and rival Nike.

Nike have a stranglehold on the market, thanks largely to having leading basketball and American football stars endorsing their product.

The latest figures show that Nike possessed a 21.1 per cent share in the US sports market in 2015, rising from 20.1 per cent the year prior. In comparison, Adidas has a 3.4 per cent market share.

Although Adidas has a venerable reputation in Europe, the German manufacturer is losing ground in America and has been overtaken by Under Armour in terms of market share.

With Nike also threatening to take away the European organization’s lucrative sponsorship deal with English football team Chelsea, Adidas have started a new offensive.

Adidas’ North America president Mark King has stated that the company want to bolster the arsenal of US sports stars wearing their product.

His goal is to increase the number of NFL players that his company sponsors from 95 to 250 by 2020, while boosting its numbers in the NBA from 70 to 100.

“When you do well in football in the United States, it is like doing well in soccer in Germany,” he said.

“The more grounded that we are in America, in American sports, the more success we’re going to have.

“We’re a brand that can take care of you when you play your game and we can also make you look cool when you come off the pitch.”

Some of the big names to sign up with Adidas recently include Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers football team and James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

The manufacturer’s main target market is teenagers aged 14-18.

Adidas have recorded positive first-quarter sales in 2016, which have increased by an impressive 31 per cent – but this is largely due to the popularity of retro shoes such as Superstar and Stan Smith rather than functional apparel.

The German producer is clearly keen to boost its market share in sports specific products also, given the vulnerable and insecure nature of banking on fashion items.

Adidas’ focus in North America has seen King been given more autonomy and leading executives from head office in Germany transferred to the company’s US base in Portland.