I usually reserve judgment on the World Cup kits until we see all of the teams play at least their first matches. So, we will do our own “style watch” later. For now, I wanted to breakdown which brands are outfitting the teams as the official kit sponsor for all 32 teams competing at the 2018 World Cup.
Not surprisingly, Adidas continues to be the most popular sponsor with 12 teams and some of the top teams that figure to go deep into the tournament – including their home country Germany, Argentina and Spain. Adidas also outfits the host country Russia, as well as Belgium, Colombia, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, and Sweden. For the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Adidas only had 9 of the 32 countries, so this tournament has already seen an improvement for them. Adidas has bounced up and down with their team sponsorships – also having 12 teams in the 2010 tournament, but only 6 teams at the 2006 event. This is in addition to being the official FIFA equipment sponsor since 1970 which gives them the official ball, the match officials’ uniforms, and official gear rights. So, regardless, Adidas makes a big investment into the World Cup.
Nike trails Adidas this year with 10 teams. Nike has its own roster of tournament heavyweights too with Brazil and France both being popular pre-tournament favorites. Add in always popular England and Euro 2016 winner Portugal – featuring megastar Cristiano Ronaldo – and the swoosh will get a lot of attention this round. Nike will also be outfitting Poland, Croatia, Australia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea. Unfortunately for Nike, they missed out on the top spot when perennials countries such as United States, Chile, and the Netherlands missed out on the tournament in 2018.
Puma comes in third with an unlikely trio of teams. For Puma, their biggest disappointment – actually shocking – was their top team Italy, missed the tournament. Puma’s usually strong roster of African teams also missed out on the tournament this round leaving Puma with just Uruguay and Switzerland on their World Cup roster in late 2017. However, in December, they were able to lure Senegal back from UAE-based Romai Sports. Romai lured Senegal from Puma in 2016, but the national team wanted out of what was described as a disastrous deal, and headed back to their former supplier.
Umbro, a historically strong soccer company that was bought and then spun back off by Nike, also has two teams with Peru and Serbia being their representatives. The British company lost their home country to then-parent Nike and never recovered them after the split. New Balance, the Massachusetts-based company better known for running and other sports, is the last of the deuce trio as it will outfit Central American clubs Costa Rica and Panama.
The rest of the manufacturers represented include German lifestyle brand Hummel with its long time sponsor Denmark; Italian manufacturer Errea which continues to benefit from Iceland’s emergence; Uhlsport, a company best known for their goalkeeper gear, will outfit Tunisia; and, Romai will dress Senegal.