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Adidas AG ( in US English, ) is a Germanmarker-based sports apparel manufacturer and part of the Adidas Group, which consists of Reebok sportswear company, TaylorMade-adidas golf company, and Rockport. Besides sports footwear, the company also produces other products such as bags, shirts, watches, eyewear and other sports and clothing related goods. The company is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world, after its U.S. rival Nikemarker.

The company's clothing and shoe designs typically feature three parallel bars, and the same motif is incorporated into Adidas's current official logo. The "Three Stripes" were bought from the Finnish sport company Karhu Sports in the 1950s. The company revenue for 2008 was listed at 10.799 billion and the 2007 figure was listed at €10.299 billion, or about US$15.6 billion.


Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik

Adolf Dassler started to produce his own sports shoes in his mother's wash kitchen in Herzogenaurachmarker, Bavariamarker, after his return from World War I. In 1924, his brother Rudolf Dassler joined the business which became (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) and prospered. The pair started their venture in their mother's laundry, but at the time, electricity supplies in the town were unreliable, and the brothers sometimes had to use pedal power from a stationary bicycle to run their equipment.

By the 1936 Summer Olympics, Adi Dassler drove from Bavaria on one of the world's first motorways to the Olympic village with a suitcase full of spikes and persuaded United States sprinter Jesse Owens to use them, the first sponsorship for an African-American. After Owens won four gold medals, his success cemented the good reputation of Dassler shoes among the world's most famous sportsmen. Letters from around the world landed on the brothers' desks, and the trainers of other national teams were all interested in their shoes. Business boomed and the Dasslers were selling 200,000 pairs of shoes each year before World War II.

Late in World War II, the shoe factory shifted to production of the Panzerschreck anti-tank weapon.

Company split

Both brothers joined the Nazi Party, but Rudolf was slightly closer to the party. During the war, a growing rift between the pair reached a breaking point after an Allied bomb attack in 1943 when Adi and his wife climbed into a bomb shelter that Rudolf and his family were already in: "The dirty bastards are back again", Adi said, apparently referring to the Allied war planes, but Rudolf was convinced his brother meant him and his family. After Rudolf was later picked up by American soldiers and accused of being a member of the Waffen SS, he was convinced that his brother had turned him in.

The brothers split up in 1947, with
  • Rudi forming a new firm that he called Ruda - from Rudolf Dassler, later rebranded Puma,
  • and Adi forming a company formally registered as adidas AG (with lower case lettering) on 18 August 1949. The acronym All Day I Dream About Sport, although sometimes considered the origin of the adidas name, was applied retroactively. The name is actually an acronym from "Adi" (a nickname for Adolf) and "Das" (from "Dassler").

The Tapie affair

After a period of trouble following the death of Adolf Dassler's son Horst Dassler in 1987, the company was bought in 1989 by French industrialist Bernard Tapie, for 1.6 billion Frenchmarker francs (now €243.918 million), which Tapie borrowed. Tapie was at the time a famous specialist of rescuing bankrupt companies, an expertise on which he built his fortune.

Tapie decided to move production offshore to Asia. He also hired Madonna for promotion. He sent, from Christchurch, New Zealandmarker, a shoe sales representative, to Germany and met Adolf Dassler's descendants (Amelia Randall Dassler and Bella Beck Dassler) and was sent back with a few items to promote the company there.

In 1992, Tapie was unable to pay the interest from his loan. He mandated the Crédit Lyonnais bank to sell Adidas, and the bank subsequently converted the outstanding debt owed into equity of the enterprise, which was unusual as per the prevalent French banking practice. Apparently, the state-owned bank had tried to get Tapie out of dire financial straits as a personal favour to Tapie, reportedly because Tapie was Minister of Urban Affairs (ministre de la Ville) in the French government at the time.

In February 1993, Crédit Lyonnais sold Adidas to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, a friend of Bernard Tapie for a much higher amount of money than what Tapie owed, 4.485 billion (€683.514 million) francs rather than 2.85 billion (€434.479 million). Tapie later sued the bank, because he felt "spoiled" by the indirect sale.

Robert Louis-Dreyfus became the new CEO of the company. He was also the president of Olympique de Marseille, a team Tapie had owned until 1993.

Tapie filed for personal bankruptcy in 1994. He was the object of several lawsuits, notably related to match fixing at the soccer club. During 1997, he served 6 months of an 18 month prison sentence in La Santémarker prison in Parismarker.

In 2005, French courts awarded Tapie a €135 million compensation (about 886 million francs).

Post-Tapie era

In 1994, combined with FIFAmarker Youth Group, SOS Children's Villages became the main beneficiary.

In 1997, Adidas AG acquired the Salomon Group who specialized in ski wear, and its official corporate name was changed to Adidas-Salomon AG because with this acquisition Adidas also acquired the Taylormade Golf company and Maxfli which allowed them to compete with Nike Golf.

In 1998, Adidas sued the NCAA over their rules limiting the size and number of commercial logos on team uniforms and apparel. Adidas withdrew the suit, and the two groups established guidelines as to what three-stripe designs would be considered uses of the Adidas trademark

In 2003, Adidas filed a lawsuit in a Britishmarker court challenging Fitness World Trading's use of a two-stripe motif similar to Adidas's three stripes. The court ruled that despite the simplicity of the mark, Fitness World 's use was infringing because the public could establish a link between that use and Adidas's mark.

In September 2004, top Englishmarker fashion designer Stella McCartney launched a joint-venture line with Adidas, establishing a long-term partnership with the corporation. This line is a sports performance collection for women called "Adidas by Stella McCartney", and it has been critically acclaimed.

Also in 2005, on 3 May, Adidas told the public that they sold their partner company Salomon Group for €485m to Amer Sports of Finland.

In August 2005, Adidas declared its intention to buy Britishmarker rival Reebok for $3.8 billion (US). This takeover was completed with partnership in January 2006 and meant that the company will have business sales closer to those of Nike in North America. The acquisition of Reebok will also allow Adidas to compete with Nikemarker worldwide as the number two athletic shoemaker in the world.

Adidas has corporate headquarters in Germany, and many other business locations around the world such as Hong Kong, Toronto, Taiwan, England, Japan, Australia and Spain. Mainly sold in the U.S., Adidas makes lots of assets from these countries and is expanding to more oversea countries.

In 2005, Adidas introduced the Adidas 1, the first ever production shoe to utilize a microprocessor. Dubbed by the company "The World's First Intelligent Shoe", it features a microprocessor capable of performing 5 million calculations per second that automatically adjusts the shoe's level of cushioning to suit its environment. The shoe requires a small, user-replaceable battery that lasts for approximately 100 hours of running. On 25 November, 2005, Adidas released a new version of the Adidas 1 with an increased range of cushioning, allowing the shoe to become softer or firmer, and a new motor with 153 percent more torque.

On 11 April 2006, Adidas announced an 11-year deal to become the official NBA apparel provider. They will make NBA, NBDL, and WNBA jerseys and products as well as team-coloured versions of the "Superstar" basketball shoe. This deal (worth over $400 million) takes the place of the previous 10-year Reebok deal that was put in place in 2001.



Adidas currently manufactures several running shoes, including the adiStar Control 5, the adiStar Ride (the replacement for the adiStar Cushion 6), the Supernova Sequence (the replacement for the Supernova Control 10), and the Supernova Cushion 7 (which will soon be replaced by the Supernova Glide), among others. In addition, their performance apparel is widely used by runners. Adidas also uses kangaroo leather to make their more expensive shoes.

Association football

One of the main focuses of Adidas is football kit and associated equipment. Adidas also provides apparel and equipment for all teams in Major League Soccer.Adidas remain a major company in the supply of team kits for international football teams. Current examples include Russia, France, Germany, Greece, Romania, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Japan and Nigeria.The company has been an innovator in the area of footwear for the sport with notable examples including development of the Copa Mondial moulded boot used for matches on firm dry pitches for almost forty years. The studded equivalent was named World Cup follow in celebration of the 1978 tournament won by Argentina, one of the nations it supplied at the time.Adidas became renowned for advancing the "Predator" boot design developed by ex-Liverpool and Australian international player Craig Johnston. This design featured a ribbed rubber structure for the upper leather of the shoe, used to accent the movement of the ball when struck; highly skilled players claimed they were able to curve the flight of the ball more easily when wearing this new contoured design. The Predator also features the Craig Johnston invented "Traxion" sole.As the development and popularity of Football continued Adidas played a leading role in shaping the style of the play itself.FIFAmarker, the sports governing body, commissioned specially designed footballs for use in its own World Cup tournaments to favour more attacking play. The balls supplied for the 2006 Germany World Cup were particular noteworthy for their ability to travel further than previous types when struck, leading to longer range goal strikes that were intended to increase the number of goals scores and increase spectator enjoyment. Goalkeepers were believed to be less comfortable with the design claiming it would move significantly and unpredictably in flight.


Adidas has sponsored tennis players and recently introduced a new line of tennis racquets. While the Feather is made for the "regular player", and the Response for the "club player", Adidas targets the "tournament player" with the 12.2 oz Barricade tour model. Adidas sponsors the following professional players: Dinara Safina, Ana Ivanović, Daniela Hantuchová, Fernando Verdasco, Novak Djokovic, Gilles Simon, Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando González, Marat Safin, doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan and upcoming players like Melanie Oudin, Sorana Cirstea and Grigor Dimitrov. Adidas tennis apparel contains the ClimaCool technology found in other athletic jerseys and shoes.

In Cincinnatimarker, at the ATP Tennis Tournament in Mason, they have also sponsored the ball-boy and ball-girl uniforms.


In 1997, Adidas purchased TaylorMade. The image and focus of TaylorMade was redirected shortly after the acquisition to take over the driver market. The company succeeded in achieving this goal in late 2004 when it officially became the No. 1 driver in golf. On 14 October 2008, Adidas, through its subsidiary TaylorMade, acquired Ashworth for $72 million, assuming $46.3 million in debt.


In the 1990s, Adidas signed the world No. 1 batsman Sachin Tendulkar and made shoes for him.[32911] He is still wearing Adidas shoes when he plays matches. Adidas even made action figures after Sachin Tendulkar.

In 2008, Adidas made their move into English cricket market by sponsoring English batting star Kevin Pietersen after the cancellation of his lifetime deal with Woodworm, when they ran into financial difficulties. The following year they signed up fellow England player Ian Bell. Having made cricket footware for many years, the company finally entered the field of bat manufacture in 2008 and their products are available in the Incurza, Pellara and Libro ranges

Adidas also manufactures the uniforms worn by both the England cricket team and the Australian cricket team.

In 2008 and 2009 in both the seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL), it took up the sponsorship of the Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Daredevils.

In 2009, Adidas signed Sachin Tendulkar and started sponsoring his bat. It created a new bat 'Adidas ST' for him and 'Adidas KP' for Kevin Pietersen, the same year. Now both of them use their personalized bats in cricket. It is notable that, Tendulkar reached his 17000 ODI runs, 13000 Test runs and an amass of 30000 International cricket runs with Adidas Bat.


Adidas has been a longtime basketball shoe manufacturer and is one of the leading basketball brands in the world. They are most famous for their iconic Superstar and Pro Model shoes, affectionately known as "shelltoes" for their stylized hard rubber toe box. These were made very popular in the 1980s hip hop streetwear scene alongside Adidas' stripe-sided polyester suits.

Adidas is also the current outfitter of all 30 franchises in the National Basketball Association (replacing the Reebok brand after the merger) and sponsors numerous players past and present like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tracy McGrady, as well as Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Candace Parker, and Gilbert Arenas.


In 2007, Adidas announced the future production of lacrosse equipment, and will sponsor the Adidas National Lacrosse Classic in July 2008 for the top 600 high school underclassmen lacrosse players in the United Statesmarker.


Adidas make rugby balls and other rugby gear. They are the current kit and ball supplier to the New Zealandmarker All Blacks, Irishmarker Munster Rugby, and the Argentinian Pumas, among others.


Since 2000, adidas has provided men's and women's gymnastics wear for Team USA, through USA Gymnastics. In 2006, adidas gymnastics leatards for women and adidas mens comp shirts, gymnastics pants and gymnastics shorts have been available in the USA, with seasonal leotards offered for Spring, Summer, Fall and Holidays. Starting in 2009, adidas gymnastics wear has been available worldwide through GK Elite Sportswear.


Adidas SB (Skateboarding) are shoes made specifically for skateboarding. Many of the shoes Adidas previously made were redesigned for skateboarding.


Adidas also designs and makes watches, eyewear, bags, baseball caps, and socks.
Adidas Fresh Impact - Limited Edition
As well, Adidas has a branded range of male and female deodorants, perfumes, aftershave and lotions.


Adidas, like other sports brands is believed to engender high consumer brand loyalty. Brand loyalty towards Adidas, Nike and several other sportswear brands was examined in a recent study. The study found consumers did not exhibit unduly high loyalty towards such brands.

During the mid to late 1990s, Adidas divided the brand into three main groups with each a separate focus: Adidas Performance was designed to maintain their devotion to the athlete; Adidas Originals was designed to focus on fashion and life-style; and Style Essentials, with the main group within this one being Y-3.

"Impossible is Nothing" is the current mainstream marketing slogan for Adidas. This campaign was developed by 180/TBWA based in Amsterdam but also with significant work being done by TBWA/Chiat/Day in San Francisco - particularly for its basketball campaign "Believe In Five".


Adidas are the main sponsor and kit supplier of the highly successful New Zealandmarker national rugby team, the All Blacks. Adidas also are the kit supplier to the Argentina Pumas, to the Frenchmarker Stade Français, and the Irishmarker Munster Rugby team and the United States Eagles.

Adidas are the main sponsors and kit sponsors of the successful Australian Cricket Team and the England Cricket Team. They are also the main sponsors of the Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag and English cricketers Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell. Adidas are the main sponsors of Australian Domestic Cricket Competitions - Pura Cup, KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, Ford Ranger One Day Cup. They are sponsors of the Indian Premier League teams Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians.

Adidas also sponsors and produces apparel for the Gold Coast Titans rugby league clubs in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) competition.

Adidas is the longstanding kit provider to the Germany national football team, a sponsorship that began in 1954 and is contracted to continue until at least 2018. Sponsoring also the Mexican, French and Spanish National Football Teams and from 2010 will sponsor the Scotland national football team.

Adidas are very active at sponsoring top football clubs such as Liverpool, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Marseille, AFC Ajax, Schalke 04, Galatasaray, Benfica, Newcastle, River Plate, Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçemarker, UANL Tigres, Panathinaikos, Litex Lovech, Slavia Sofia, AIK, Djurgårdens IF, Brøndby IF, IFK Göteborg, Al-Ahly, Al-Hilal, Ahli Jeddah, Palmeiras, Fluminense, CFU Chile, and the Colombianmarker football teams Los Millonarios, Deportivo Cali, and Atlético Nacional.

Adidas and Major League Soccer (MLS) announced a 10-year sponsorship agreement in November 2004 to make Adidas the official athletic sponsor and licensed product supplier for the league, and to work together to create a developmental league for MLS.

Adidas also sponsors events such as the London Marathon.

For the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Adidas spent 70 million sponsoring the event, amid criticisms.

Adidas has also been marketing in NASCAR, sponsoring big name drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Tony Stewart.

Corporate information

Current executive board

  • CEO Adidas-group: Herbert Hainer
  • Finance Adidas-group: Robin J. Stalker
  • CEO Adidas brand: Erich Stamminger
  • Global Operations Adidas-group: Glenn S. Bennett

Former management

Financial information

Financial data in millions of euros
Year 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Sales 6.523 6.266 6.478 6.636 10.084
EBITDA 532 627 725 818 1 098
Net results 208 260 314 382 483
Net debt 1 498 946 594 551 2 231


As with the majority of prolific brand-based transnationals, Adidas' business practises/ethics and commitment to worker welfare have been scrutinised and often criticised.


  1. The Town that Sibling Rivalry Built, and Divided | Business | Deutsche Welle | 03.07.2006
  2. How Adidas and PUMA were born
  3. The Prehistory of Adidas and Puma; Spiegel
  4. Review of "Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and PUMA and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sport", Barbara Smit, March 2008, ISBN 9780061246579
  5. Review of "Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded adidas and Puma and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sport", Barbara Smit, March 2008, ISBN 978-0-06-124657-9
  6. [1]]
  7. Adidas told its three stripes don't constitute a trademark at The Guardian
  9. Stella McCartney Biography at Internet Movie Database
  10. Reebok History, 2000-
  16. Online Stock Trading Investing Day Trading
  19. Dawes, J. "Brand Loyalty in the UK Sporswear Market." International Journal of Market Research, Vol 51, No. 1 2009.
  20. OpesC
  21. Tyee - Homepage
  22. Common Dreams | News & Views

External links


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