While there is still plenty of football left to play, it looks like the FIFA World Cup games are already making marketing dreams come true: Adidas -- one of the major sponsors of the FIFA World Cup games -- says it has already set a new sales record, selling double the number of jerseys compared to the 2006 games.
"Worldwide, we are seeing more of a buzz about World Cup," Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group, tells Marketing Daily, "and it's really helped by the social atmosphere around it -- everyone is looking for a less expensive form of entertainment. Gathering family and friends is one of the least expensive forms of entertainment there is -- and the fanaticism surrounding the various nationalities is really fun."
Nor does he think Adidas is the only company that will benefit. "All of the investment the big-name brands have made in the last two decades in turning sports events like the World Cup into a marketable opportunity, rather than just an advertising ploy, is really taking off. And you'll see it in the secondary and tertiary brands as well."
"I think Nike will see a bump from the World Cup as well," adds Barry Janoff, executive editor of NYSportsJournalism.com, a daily sports marketing site, "and in the U.S., interest is likely to continue to grow, especially now that the NBA season is over."
Certainly, global viewership continues to be strong. "At this very early stage, it looks as though the FIFA World Cup will be watched more widely than ever," Kevin Alavy, director at Futures sport + entertainment, a London-based company that tracks the marketing impact of sporting events, tells Marketing Daily in an email.
"Before the tournament started, Futures sport + entertainment predicted that global viewership would be up by 5%, compared with 2006. Data to date suggest that indeed this is likely to happen, with many record viewing figures already having been achieved, both at a channel and a country level. Given that viewing data are only available to date for the early group matches, we of course expect audiences to grow even further once we enter the knockout rounds."
It's certainly paying off for Adidas. "After the first 10 days it is already clear that this World Cup will be a great success for adidas. We will not only achieve our ambitious goals in football, we will over-achieve them," Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer, says in a company release. The company now predicts a 15% gain from 2008, the last year football sales hit a record, and a 25% gain compared to the 2006 FIFA World Cup gains. In the first quarter of 2010, sales of football products are up 26%, and fans have snapped up more than 6.5 million replica jerseys, compared with 3 million in 2006. Germany, Mexico, South Africa and Argentina are leading, with more than with sales of around 1 million jerseys each. The company says it will also sell more footballs than ever, and more than 13 million of the 20 million footballs sold feature the design of the Jabulani, the Official Match Ball of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Earlier this month, NPD reported that the football footwear and apparel market, which at values at $10.9 billion worldwide, has grown 13% from 2005 in the European Big 5 countries. That translates to about $1.4 billion in Great Britain, $900 million in the U.S., $800 million in Germany, $535 million in Brazil, and $500 million in France. "As fanaticism has grown," Cohen says, "we've seen this new willingness to splurge across all kinds of sports venues. People are willing to pay for a jersey that will get them comments when they wear it on the street, as opposed to just another pair of jeans."