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Adidas, a German athletic apparel and accessories brand that was founded by Adolf Dassler in 1948, is Nike’s main competitor stateside despite paling in comparison based on current U.S. market revenue numbers. In 2012, Nike’s market value was an estimated $50 billion while Adidas hovered somewhere around $12 billion.
In the mid 1990s, Adidas divided its brand into three focus groups — Adidas Performance, Adidas Originals and Style Essentials. Adidas Originals is closely related to Nike’s recent ‘retro’ craze, borrowing ideas and sneaker models from a previous profitable era.
The company has recently moved to a streetwear and casual apparel marketing campaign to appeal to a younger generation in tune with fashion. Adidas is “all in” is the current global marketing strategy for the three stripes. Designed to tie all brands and labels together, the slogan presents a unified image to consumers interested in sports, fashion, street, music and pop culture. Like Nike and several other brands, Adidas also designs slides, watches and sunglasses. The company’s leap into personal hygiene products including a wide range of deodorants, aftershaves and lotions is a popular seller.
Adidas became the official uniform and apparel provider of the NBA in 2006 after reaching an 11-year global merchandising deal just months after acquiring Reebok for $3.8 billion. The decade-long deal, worth approximately $400 million, exceeded the 10-year, $250 million contract Reebok signed with the NBA in 2001 during Allen Iverson’s standout years with the brand.
The three stripe brand was the official sponsor of the 2012 London Olympic Games but only Nike athletes were members on Team USA’s gold medal basketball squad, driving sales in the U.S. As the official sportswear brand of the Olympics, Adidas dressed nearly 70,000 volunteers and athletes at the Games. The three stripes reported invested $200 million into becoming the official partner and expected to earn $50 million less.
CEO Herbet Hainer said long-term effects would outweigh initial losses.
Currently, Adidas’ two major NBA stars are Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose. Unfortunately for the apparel giant, Rose’s 13-year, $185 million deal began with the 2012-13 season — a year he missed in its entirety due to injury. According to Matt Powell, an analyst at SportsOneSource, wholesale of Rose’s Adizero signature shoes were $25 million in 2011 compared to $130 million combined for Nike athletes Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Adidas controls just 5 percent of the current U.S. basketball shoe market with Reebok and Under Armour close behind.
Adidas has always had a tight grip on global soccer apparel and equipment and currently provides clothing for all teams in the MLS. The company sponsors several international squads and has its logo prominently displayed during World Cup events. Adidas doesn’t have the appeal Nike maintains domestically through brand loyalty, but does well globally.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is Adidas’ new ‘face of the franchise’ so to speak from a football marketing perspective and alongside Nike and Under Armour, produces the sport’s most innovative apparel and gameday footwear.
Adidas went outside the box on the hardwood in March when the company introduced sleeved uniforms for the Golden State Warriors and unveiled a unique camouflage pattern on alternate uniforms at specific three stripe-sponsored schools. Bright colors on jerseys and psychedelic sorts increased Adidas’ time in the spotlight during the Nike Elite craze in the NCAA Tournament.
Adidas AG is currently the holding company for Reebok, TaylorMade and Ashport. In its quest to be the market leader, Adidas acquired Reebok in 2005.