Last week Nike bought the French national soccer team for $506 million and has vowed to become the world’s soccer (football) leader by the next World Cup. The brand that competitors mockingly call the Evil Empire is solidifying itself as the most powerful footwear & apparel brand of all time.
Nike managed to outbid both Adidas and French company Airness to the surprise of soccer enthusiasts that had just witnessed Nike get rejected by German soccer groups in 2007. The French national team called Les Bleus will still wear Adidas apparel, footwear, and equipment at this year’s European Championship and during the 2010 World Cup if it qualifies. But if Nike is a company of its word, expect many more elite teams to be offered substantial amounts of money to convert over to the Evil Empire.
Another story to note is that Nike recently bought England’s Umbro PLC for $566 million in a deal that should be approved in March. Umbro’s line of gear is sold in excess of 90 countries and is the official uniform of England, Ireland, Sweden, and Norway’s national soccer teams. Additionally, Umbro provides apparel, footwear, and equipment to six teams in the English Premier League and more than 100 other professional teams around the globe. With this kind of portfolio, what competitors are left to hold Nike back? Anyone doubt whether in two years Nike will accomplish becoming the worldwide leader in soccer?