When England and Spain compete in the Women’s World Cup final this Sunday, the stakes will extend beyond mere sports pride. The sponsor of the winning team, either Nike or Adidas, could potentially see a multimillion-dollar surge in sales.
Sports sponsorship significantly drives sales for apparel manufacturers. In 2019, Nike’s home jersey for the U.S. National Women’s Team, which won the World Cup, became the highest-selling soccer jersey ever sold in a single season on the company’s website, encompassing both men’s and women’s jerseys.
Nike reported a 10% revenue growth in the first quarter following the tournament, including substantial growth in the women’s business sector. The revenue from apparel in the 2019 Women’s World Cup was four times larger than that of the 2015 event.
Now, longtime rivals Nike, sponsoring England, and Adidas, sponsoring Spain, aim to capitalize on this momentum.
Liz Papasakelariou, the North American consumer products lead for consulting group Publicis Sapient, emphasized that the real exposure and return on investment for sponsors come after the game.
Nike and Adidas were responsible for the majority of kits worn in the women’s tournament, supplying 23 out of the 32 team jerseys. Nike sponsored 13 teams, while Adidas sponsored 10.
The unpredictable tournament, marked by early exits of major teams, led to fluctuations in demand for merchandise from these two sportswear giants. Nike faced a loss in earnings potential as the U.S. team, sponsored by Nike since 1995, experienced its earliest tournament exit ever.
However, Nike’s sponsorship deal with England, the European champions, proved successful as the team reached the final against Spain.
Demand for the England women’s jersey surged, with it being sold out in most sizes except for extra-small. This echoed the demand seen during England’s historic run to the European Championship title the previous year.
Spain jerseys by Adidas also saw continued demand, with the company restocking in its retail partners and stores. Adidas plans to release customized celebratory apparel if Spain wins the trophy.
Australia’s impressive semi-final run also generated unprecedented jersey demand. Adidas’ CEO noted that demand for its Women’s World Cup products has been higher than expected.
Television viewership records were also set. Spain’s semi-final victory over Sweden drew nearly 2 million viewers with a 45.5% share, marking the highest viewership for a Women’s World Cup match in Spain. Australia’s semi-final against England was the most-watched TV program in Australia since 2001.