The Deal

Last week, it was announced that the decades-long kit supply tie-up between German soccer’s DFB governing body and German sportswear giant adidas, one of the most renowned technical deals in sport, will come to an end after the 2026 World Cup.

Sportswear rivals NIKE will take over as kit and equipment supplier to the DFB for the 2027-34 cycle. Nike will equip all German national representative sides and “promote German soccer in its entirety,” the DFB has said.

The annual value of the Nike-DFB deal will reportedly be at least €100 million ($108.1 million).

DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said: “The future partnership will enable the DFB to continue to carry out key tasks in the coming decade with a view to the comprehensive development of football in Germany. But one thing is also clear “until December 2026, we will do everything we can to achieve shared success with our long-standing and current partner Adidas, to whom German football has owed a lot for more than seven decades.”

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German teams have used Adidas products at all major FIFA World Cups dating back to 1954, but the DFB has said that Nike made “the best economic offer” for the cycle following on from the 2026 World Cup (to be held in Mexico, the US, and Canada).

The news comes after another blow earlier this month for Adidas, which a few weeks ago unveiled a loss of €75 million for the 2023 financial year – the first time since 1992 that an annual loss has been recorded.

GlobalData Sport analyst Conrad Wiacek stated: “The German FA's decision to move away from Adidas shows that no deal in sport is safe. While tradition and long-standing relationships play a huge role, the reality is that more often than not, the biggest cheque will win.

“While Nike has moved away from having a high volume of kit deals across the sport, it has targeted the largest and most high-profile partnerships, striking fewer deals but committing significant spend to the deals it has signed.

“This is a highly aggressive move by Nike, taking one of Adidas' key deals and essentially parking their tanks on their lawn, showing ambition and aggression to take a piece of inventory that many would have assumed would never change hands.

“How Adidas reacts to this moving forward will be interesting to watch, and with the US men's soccer kit deal up in 2027, might this be a legitimate target for the German brand?”

The details

Explaining the decision to partner with Nike, Holger Blask, chair of the DFB’s board of directors, said: “The award to the future supplier partner Nike is the result of a transparent and non-discriminatory tender. Nike made by far the best economic offer and also convinced with its content vision, which also represents a clear commitment to the promotion of amateur and popular sports as well as the sustainable development of women's soccer in Germany.

“The timing of the tender is usual with regard to the planning and lead times and was discussed in advance with all relevant market participants.”

With the Nike deal, DFB treasurer Stephan Grunwald claims the governing body “will be able to look forward to an economically stable future again” as he states it has a duty to financially support its members. 

The last renewal between the DFB and Adidas was announced in late 2018, covering the 2023-26 cycle, with an estimated annual value of $60 million. That period includes the UEFA men’s European Championships taking place in Germany later this year.

Between them, the men’s and women’s German sides have won six World Cups during the seven decades of the DFB-Adidas alliance. The Adidas three-stripe insignia on German teams’ kit has been one of the most iconic collaborations in world sport during that period.

The deal was criticized by German politicians, with German economy minister Robert Habeck saying he would have “liked a bit more local patriotism”, while Health Minister Karl Lauterbach called the decision “wrong”.

The DFB said on X that it understood the emotional reaction to its decision, saying switching supplier after 70 years was a “drastic event” that “doesn't leave us cold.”

The announcement of the Nike deal comes just months before Euro 2024. Germany's men's team is using Adidas's headquarters in Herzogenaurach, near Nuremberg, as its base for the tournament.