Adidas aims to correct its ‘America problem’

The president of Adidas Group North America discusses the company’s strategy to compete more successfully against Nike and Under Armour.

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The president of Adidas Group North America has been making media rounds to discuss his strategy to compete more successfully against Nike and Under Armour.

Mark King told the Portland Business Journal that part of his strategy is returning design jobs from overseas to America and signing more big names to the three-striped brand.

“There are holes, big gaps, in the overall strategy. We have the NBA (uniform contract). We have a few key players. But it needs to be from the top all the way down through junior basketball and the AAU,” [King said in a Q+A with Matthew Kish].

King discussed how he is espousing a “by any means necessary” approach to getting exposure with sports fans in the U.S.

From his interview with Bloomberg Businessweek:

To make sure fans watching at home take notice, Adidas struck deals with both the NFL and MLB in September to allow players to wear its cleats and gloves without covering up the brand name and logo. Before those arrangements, Adidas endorsers such as New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham had been blacking out the iconic three stripes on their gear. The new MLB deal includes the right to provide players with compression sleeves, the skintight layer some batters and pitchers wear on their arms.

Of course, these are trivial compared with Nike’s five-year, $1.1 billion jersey deal with the NFL or the decade-long uniform deal between MLB and Majestic. At the moment, however, King wants any relationship that Adidas can get. The compression sleeve, he says, was “the only thing available right now” in baseball. The new on-field licensing agreements also give Adidas the right to use NFL and MLB logos and uniforms in its advertising.