Nike and adidas at war as they battle for kit dominance across Europe

New deals with Manchester United and Juventus will make adidas top dogs

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The Independent Football

Nike and adidas are waging a war across Europe for dominance in the lucrative football kit market.

Repucom and PR Marketing's latest Kit Supplier Report show the the two sportswear giants are ferociously vying for the top spot - and with approximately 13million shirts sold by the 98 clubs of Europe's top five leagues last season, a 14 per cent increase on 2011-12 - the two companies are way in front of their rivals.

Premier League clubs sell the majority of shirts in Europe with over five million shirts sold by the 20 clubs last season. La Liga (3.1m) is second, followed by the Bundesliga (2.32m), Ligue 1 (1.22m) and Serie A.

Of the 25 brands supplying kit to clubs in 2014-15, Nike has become the market leader for the first time, but new deals with Manchester United and Juventus from 2015 will see adidas re-take their crown. 

After adding five new clubs for the coming season, American company Nike have taken their portfolio to 26 clubs, outpacing their German rivals, who have 18, for the first time since 2009-10 - Nike now supply just over a quarter of all clubs in Europe's top five leagues (26.5 per cent), compared to adidas' 18.4 per cent.

Third placed Puma supply just nine clubs in Europe's top five leagues.

However, adidas are in charge in the lucrative Premier League, and have deals with five clubs compared to Nike's three.

"In terms of revenue it is the top ten European teams which dominate, delivering 65% of total shirt sales in the five key football leagues, most of which coming from clubs in the English Premier League, adidas’ strongest market," said Andrew Walsh, football expert at Repucom.

"Whilst Nike may be winning in the quantity stakes, adidas is certainly not bowing out in the running for market superiority, far from it in fact. The brand is now starting to flex its muscles by supplying Europe’s biggest clubs."

Manchester United will end a long association with Nike after signing a record £750m deal with rivals adidas

Nike were dealt a further blow earlier this summer when Manchester United announced a blockbuster 10-year, £750m deal with adidas and the brand will also take Italian champions Juventus from Nike in 2015-16.

Currently, Nike's deals are worth €125m-per-year, while adidas' are worth €10m per-year more.

Walsh continued: "adidas’ position in the market is certainly one of ‘quality’, already official partner of World Football’s biggest tournament, the Fifa World Cup, as well as World Champions, Germany and the UEFA Champions League, now they are moving to kit out the world’s biggest clubs underlining their position as football’s leading sports brand in terms of sponsorship. A title that Nike will of course continue to rival.

"Whilst Nike looks to maximise the number of teams it supplies, Adidas is going for the most popular, most followed and ultimately biggest selling clubs in the world."

Puma are the third biggest players on the market

Puma's bumper deal with Arsenal, worth £150m over five years, has seen them strengthen their place as the third biggest player on the market - they supply nine clubs in Europe's top five leagues.

"Kit deals in football are increasingly becoming more important in achieving a stronger market share for sports brands," said Dr Rohlmann of PR Marketing.

"These companies significantly benefit from supplying top clubs through both jersey sales and a rise to their reputation internationally."