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.

17-year-old sets new world record for chin-ups

Andrew Shapiro used an American TV show and his father’s cancer diagnosis as his inspiration to literally pull his way into the record books.

The 17-year-old completed more than 7,000 chin-ups over the course of 18 hours, breaking the previous 24-hour record of 6,800 set in 2015 by Czech Republic athlete Jan Kares.

He also set new six-hour and 12-hour marks during a Relay for Life event in Fairfax County, Virginia.

“It was blood, sweat and hours and hours and hours of hard work,” Shapiro told the Washington Post.

“I’ve always liked challenging myself so I’ll add this to my resume as a person for American Ninja Warrior. I figure they won’t say no to someone who has the world record for pull-ups.”

In addition to his desire to appear on television, Shapiro used the challenge to raise $4,000 for the American Cancer Society.

His dad had a five-year battle with colon cancer, undergoing two major surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. He is now cancer free and in remission.

Shapiro’s record breaking efforts included completing 3,515 pull-ups after six hours and 5,742 by the 12-hour mark.

He matched Kares’ record after 15 hours and continued for another three hours before stopping, having put his chin above the bar 7,306 times.

His family set up three video cameras to record the attempt, with 15 judges on hand to certify the achievement for the Guinness World Records books.

(VIDEO) Strongman Hafthor Bjornsson posts hilarious video training with his tiny dog

When you see the size and sheer bulk of the man they call The Mountain, its a safe bet to say cardio is not at the top of Hafthor Bjornsson’s priority list.

The Icelandic powerhouse is one of the favorites to win the 2016 World’s Strongest Man title after coming close in recent years and has recently revealed his incredible eating schedule to complement his training ahead of the event.

However, Bjornsson has also been doing a spot of cardio and has a special companion to keep him company while hitting the track.

The Stongman’s pomeranian Asterix has a profile of its own on social media and unlike its owner, is struggling for size.

The most cardio I've done in years!!#TimeForPizza #Asterix&Obelix @asterix_astrikur

A video posted by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (@thorbjornsson) on

As can be seen above, Bjornsson and his training buddy have been getting their hearts pumping but the Game of Thrones star obviously prefers strength and conditioning work to cardio.

Turkish fans’ brawl causes abandonment of wheelchair basketball game

Seven fans needed hospital treatment after a mass brawl between rival Turkish supporters at a wheelchair basketball match in Germany.

The game, played in the eastern German town of Zwickau, was part of the four-day European Champions Cup tournament.

Police say about 60 fans from the Istanbul-based clubs Besiktas and Galatasaray began attacking each other with knives and baseball bats.

While none of the injuries sustained by the Turkish supporters were serious, the incident caused the match to be cancelled.

There is a long history of hate between Besiktas and Galatasaray, with violence often marring games between the two clubs across a variety of sports.

This latest fracas is not the first time fighting has broken out between supporters of their wheelchair basketball sides.

Back in 2012, 10 fans were arrested after a clash during a game in Istanbul when supporters sprayed fire extinguishers at each other – police used tear gas to break up the fighting.

Madrid-based CD Ilunion eventually went on to win the European Champions Cup, beating German side RSV Lahn-Dill 71-45 in Sunday’s final.

Top 10 Highest-Paid Retired Athletes in 2016

Sports stars in the modern era can earn millions of dollars more than their counterparts from days gone by.

According to a 2015 Forbes report, the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes pocketed $3.2 billion between them over the preceding 12 months – a rise of 17% year-on-year.

Ever-increasing broadcast deals, personal endorsements and team sponsorships are pushing salaries to eye-watering levels.

While many current top athletes are cashing in, there’s some shrewd stars from days gone by who are still raking in the cash long after their first careers have ended.

Michael Jordan, David Beckham and Arnold Palmer are familiar names and it’s no surprise to see them appear in Forbes’ top 10 list of highest-paid retired athletes, but there are also some lesser-known people on the list.

Former NBA star Jordan retired in 2003 having banked more than $4 million in salary just twice during his 15-year playing career.

His Nike Jordan brand saw a rise in sales of 14% in the US last year, leaving him with estimated total earnings of $110 million for last year.

Jordan also benefits from link-ups with Gatorade, Five Star Fragrances, Hanes and Upper Deck. Nike has targeted doubling Jordan brand revenue by 2020, meaning his estimated worth of $1.1 billion will increase even further.

Ex-England footballer Beckham enjoys partnerships with numerous leading brands, including Adidas and Kent & Curwen, while he is edging ever-closer to launching a brand new MLS franchise in Miami.

His $65m earnings in 2015 lag some way behind Jordan, but it puts him comfortably ahead of third-placed Arnold Palmer.

The legendary golfer’s $40m comes primarily from the 500 Arnold Palmer-branded sports stores in Asia. He also puts his name to a line of drinks made by the AriZona Beverage Co. and he has owned the Bay Hill golf resort for over 40 years.

In a 12-year NBA career ex-Milwaukee Bucks player, Junior Bridgeman, never came close to reaching Jordan’s dizzy heights, but after retiring in 1987 he’s gone on to make a fortune in the restaurant business, earning $32m last year.

Bridgeman Foods has over 450 franchises, including Wendy’s, Chili’s and Fazoli’s outlets, while Blaze pizza is a new addition to his portfolio.

Jerry Richardson rounds off the top five having earned $30m in 2015. He retired in 1960 after just two seasons in the NFL, but became a success in the restaurant business before being awarded the league’s 29th franchise in 1993 with the Carolina Panthers.

American golfer Jack Nicklaus ($26m), ex-NBA star Shaquille O’Neal ($22m) and former race car driver Roger Penske ($20m) fill the next three places, with golfer Gary Player ($19m) and legendary basketball player Ervin “Magic” Johnson ($18m) completing the top 10.

Top 10 Highest-Paid Retired Athletes in 2016

  1. Michael Jordan $110m
  2. David Beckham $65m
  3. Arnold Palmer $40m
  4. Junior Bridgeman $32m
  5. Jerry Richardson $30m
  6. Jack Nicklaus $26m
  7. Shaquille O’Neal $22m
  8. Roger Penske $20m
  9. Gary Player $19m
  10. Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson $18m

Trump gets backing from US sports stars in bid to win Republican nomination

NASCAR CEO Brian France has joined a number of leading names from US sports and given his backing to Donald Trump as he seeks the Republican nomination.

France, along with current drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, and David Ragan plus Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, have pledged their support to Trump ahead of the latest round of presidential election primaries.

“I’ve known Donald for over 20 years,” France said at a rally in Valdosta, Ga. “I’m going to tell you one thing: you know about his winning and success. He wins with his family. Any of his children, you’d be proud to have in your family. That’s how I judge a winner.

“Mr Trump is changing politics forever and his leadership and strength are desperately needed. He has had an incredible career and achieved tremendous success. That is what we need for our country.”

France joins the likes of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, UFC boss Dana White and ex-Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker in going public with their backing of Trump.

Given Rocker’s comments back in 1999 which caused a stir with the likes of Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, his stance maybe shouldn’t be a surprise.

“The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners,” said Rocker. “I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English.

“Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”

Brady isn’t the only NFL personality to give his backing to Trump, with former players Hershcel Walker and Terrell Owens along with ex-Chicago Bears boss Mike Ditka lending their support to him.

Even NBA legend Dennis Rodman has got in the act, firing back at Ted Cruz after being called out by Trump’s rival on Twitter.

Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson has also thrown his weight behind Trump during an interview with FOX 5 New York.

He said: “If you want to get this city out of a dump, you better vote on Trump. OK? He’s an underdog and no one likes the fact that he is winning. I know Trump. This is a good thing. Vote on Trump.”

‘Watermelon boy’ captures imagination in Australian Big Bash record crowd

Ten-year-old Mitchell Schibeci has gained instant cult status after being filmed eating an entire watermelon at a cricket match in Australia.

The youngster has quickly been dubbed ‘watermelon boy’ after he tucked in and ate the giant fruit, rind and all, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.

Schibeci’s actions were captured on the MCG big screen, with television audiences keeping track of his efforts and social media erupting.

The suddenly famous youngster was part of a 80,883 record crowd at the Big Bash League clash between Melbourne rivals Stars and Renegades, which the former won by seven wickets.

Michel Schibeci’s father, Tony Schibeci a Melbourne radio show host and said that his son had devised the stunt as a way of getting on TV.

Meanwhile another cricket record was set on Sunday when English all-rounder Ben Stokes scored the quickest 250 runs in test history against South Africa on Sunday, smashing his way to the figure in 196 balls.

The 24-year-old finished on 258 and showed no mercy to the Cape Town bowling attack, striking 30 fours and an English record 11 sixes as the visitors declared a huge total of 6-629.

Cristiano Ronaldo calms crying fan while signing autographs

Cristiano Ronaldo was signing autographs at Bilbao airport when a boy become emotional after meeting his idol. Ronaldo was there to hug and comfort him.

Cristiano Ronaldo was walking through Bilbao Airport with his Real Madrid teammates when they decided to stop and sign autographs for the fans waiting for the team’s arrival.

One young boy was overwhelmed with emotions and started crying as Ronaldo signed his poster and Real Madrid shirt, leading to Ronaldo giving the boy a hug and few encouraging words.

The young boy was able to regain his composure and posed for attending cameras with his autographed shirt afterwards.

WADA says Russia should be banned from athletics

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published a report on Monday that called for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to suspend Russia from competition.

It said the London 2012 Olympics were “sabotaged” by the “widespread inaction” against Russian athletes with suspicious doping profiles by the the world athletics governing body and the Russian federation.

The investigation by Dick Pound, the former WADA president, has also recommended that five athletes and five coaches be given lifetime doping bans. The report says that Moscow’s anti-doping lab should lose its accreditation.

Pound, who has spent 11 months looking into claims of cheating and cover-up within Russian athletics and the sport’s governing body, has identified “intentional and malicious destruction of more than 1,400 samples by Moscow laboratory officials.”

The report also says there was “sufficient corroborated evidence to conclude that a second laboratory was assisting in the cover-up of positive doping results by way of the destruction of samples.”

Pound said it was probable the doping of athletes had been state-supported: “I don’t see how you could call it anything else,” he said.

“Our conclusion was this couldn’t happen without the knowledge or consent of state authorities. Even though they weren’t running sport, they could not have been unaware.”

“We don’t think Russia is the only country with a doping problem and we don’t think that athletics is the only sport with a doping problem ñ this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The results were released at the same time that the International Olympic Committee said that the former president of the IAAF Lamine Diack should be provisionally suspended as an honorary member of the IOC.

Diack was arrested last week along with IAAF legal adviser Habib CissÈ and Gabriel DollÈ, the former longstanding head of the IAAF’s anti-doping unit. Prosecutors said they would have arrested Diack’s son and former IAAF marketing consultant, Papa Massata Diack, if he had been in France at the time.

Diack, the IAAF president for 16 years, is accused by French police of accepting more than Ä1m in exchange for covering up positive drug tests.

Pound said he was holding back parts of the report pending the French investigation into IAAF officials but hoped to release more details by the end of the year.

WADA’s recommendations have put the ball back into the court of the IAAF and IOC over what action to take.

German television station ARD had implicated officials in Russia’s athletics federation, anti-doping agency (Rusada) and a WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow in acts of bribery to hush up positive doping tests, falsify tests and supply banned drugs.

The IAAF’s own independent ethics committee, which has been looking into the Russian claims since the spring of 2014, will conduct hearings in December against Papa Massata Diack, DollÈ, the former IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov, the former Russian long-distance head coach.

Interpol has also announced it is to coordinate a global investigation led by France into an alleged international corruption scam involving sports officials as well as athletes suspected of a doping cover-up.

Pound said the report’s findings were a serious bodyblow to the public perception of sport: “The difficulty for all of us is that it doesn’t stop there. The public view will move towards believing all sport is corrupt.

“If you can’t believe results then there is a serious credibility problem. I hope all sports will look at their governance and their anti-doping systems because their existence may be at risk.”

Golden Oldies: 10 Sports Stars Who Improved After 30

Chronicling some of the best sportsman who achieved greatness past their 30th birthdays. Including boxers, soccer players, and golfers; these guys have proven that age really is just a number.

Hunched over and clutching the corner flag for support, ex-Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o’s impression of an elderly sportsman last year had soccer fans the world over chuckling. The Cameroonian had had his age questioned earlier that week, which had led to doubts over his continued ability at the top level. His goal against Tottenham that day proved otherwise.

Indeed, there have been hugely successful sportsman who achieved superstardom after they had entered their 30’s. Footballers, boxers, cricketers, golfers and cyclists; everyone loves a golden oldie, and those on this list certainly prove that it’s never too late for greatness:

1. Bradley Wiggins, Cycling

The now Sir Bradley’s career hit the heights in 2012 after he won the Tour de France at the age of 32, and was also entered into the Guinness Book of Records for becoming the first cyclist to win both the Tour and Olympic gold in the same year. Having started his career on the track, Wiggins proved to be one of the most accomplished riders on road.

2. Mark Ramprakash, Cricket

Having moved to Surrey in 2001 at the age of 32, Englishman Ramprakash’s cricketing improved markedly. He had for a time been considered a nearly man, capable of brilliance as a right-handed batsman, but all the while struggling for real consistency. But in both 2006 and 2007, he averaged over 100 runs per innings, winning PCA Player of the Year in the process. Known for his fiery temperament, Ramprakash is one of only 25 players to score 100 first class centuries in a career.

3. George Foreman, Boxing

While a World Heavyweight Champion in his early twenties, ‘Big George’ made the record books over twenty years after his first title in 1972, coming out of retirement in 1994 to regain the Heavyweight Championship at the ripe old age of 45. Finally hanging up his gloves (for good) in 1997, Foreman is remembered as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time – as well as championing his eponymously named grill!

4. Gianfranco Zola, Soccer

Arriving at Chelsea in the English Premier League in 1997, aged 30, many presumed the little Italian wouldn’t last too long in arguably the most cutthroat league in the world. To their surprise, Zola lasted seven years, winning four major honours with the Blues. Named Chelsea Player of the Year twice, and the FWA Player of the Year in 1997 (having not even played a full season at Stamford Bridge), Zola is considered to be one of the best ever imports into the English League.

5. Evander Holyfield, Boxing

The famous ‘Bite Fight’ of 1997 remains one of boxing’s all-time clashes, with the 34 year-old Holyfield winning his World Championship rematch after Mike Tyson was disqualified for taking a chunk out of his opponent’s ear. The previous bout the year before was also won by Holyfield, and was named both the fight and the upset of the year. By winning the fight, Holyfield became the first heavyweight boxer since Muhammad Ali to win the world title three times. Not bad for a fighter who had retired the year before due to a supposed heart condition!

6. David Steele, Cricket

A little known English cricketer who made his international debut in 1975, at the age of 33. Named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year that same year, as well as BBC Personality of the Year; the prematurely grey Steele bagged over 22,000 runs in his career. He got lost on the way out to the field on that debut day in ‘75, finding himself in the basement toilets after taking too many steps down! Someone should have helped the old timer out!

7. Roger Milla, Soccer

The 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy introduced the world to the 38-year-old Roger Milla. Coming out of retirement to compete in his second World Cup, the aging Cameroonian smashed in four goals during the tournament, with his celebration for each a dance around the corner flag, which remains one of the most recognisable images in the history of the game. Four years later, aged 42, Milla became the oldest ever World Cup goalscorer after netting against Russia in Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto.

8. Edwin Van Der Sar, Soccer

The Dutch goalkeeper is widely regarded to be behind only Peter Schmeichel as the best ever Manchester United goalkeeper, but his tenure between the sticks at Old Trafford only started when he was 35. Winning the Premier League four years on the spin from 2006 to 2011, and a Champions League trophy in 2008; Van Der Sar was a real force to be reckoned with, and was in his forties when he retired. He also holds the English record for the longest time without conceding a goal, with 1,311 minutes.

9. Mark O’Meara, Golf

It took the American forty-one years to win his first major golfing championship, and they both came in 1998. His first, The Masters, came at his 15th attempt in the competition, still a record today. O’Meara had plenty of luck on PGA Tours, winning 16, and enjoyed an unusually broad career all around the world.

10. Phil Taylor, Darts

Opinion will forever be divided as to the legitimacy of darts as a sport, but Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, arguably the best player of all time, is still going aged 60. Winning his first world title aged 30 in 1995, he sneaks on the end of this list due to sheer longevity. And he’s pocketed over £6m in prize money over his career. That’s one golden oldie.