The competition between Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour is heating up as of late. Nike has been the untouchable giant in the sportswear industry for the last several decades and still undoubtedly is. However, Under Armour and Adidas are pushing to gain market share. These sneaker wars are more intense than many realize as the competition between companies extends all the way down to high school level. Let’s take a quick look at the recent news to come out of the sportswear industry.
Adidas made headlines at the beginning of the month when they announced they were singing Houston Rockets superstar James Harden to a 13-year deal worth upwards of $200 million. Experts have pointed out that he may earn more from this endorsement deal than he will from his actual NBA contract. Harden, who was previously endorsed by Nike, is coming off the heels of a historically good offensive season as he finished second in the MVP voting. Harden’s agent, Rob Pelinka, that Nike, who already boasts a star-studded roster was not willing to match the terms of the deal. Harden’s entrance into sneaker free agency was well timed as Adidas was committed to making a splash. Their recent efforts to grow business in the space including a massive 14-year contract with Derrick Rose largely fell flat. Adidas controls no more than three percent of the basketball shoe market in the US. This number is just a small fraction of Nike’s sales numbers as they account for upwards of 90% of US Sales. Nike-endorsed NBA stars include Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, and Kevin Durant. That’s quite the assortment. Nike is also set to take the reigns from Adidas as the NBA’s official supplier of apparel in 2016.
Under Armour has made headlines as of late for its success at signing some of the best athletes in the world. Under Armour boasts both golfing-extraordinaire Jordan Spieth and MVP and World Champion Stephen Curry. Their strategic and thoughtful moves have paid dividends as their share price grew upwards of sixty percent over the last year. Under Armour’s Founder and CEO Kevin Plank is well aware of the ground his company has to make up to be considered true rivals to Nike. The Baltimore-based Under Armour earned $3.1 billion in revenue compared to Nike’s staggering $30 billion in 2014.