When Belgium booted the United States from the FIFA World Cup on Tuesday, it ruled out another meeting on the field between the U.S. and Germany. But for the rest of the tournament, competition for apparel exposure will continue to pit the U.S. against Germany.
American sports apparel maker Nike and German companies Adidas and Puma, the three largest soccer apparel companies by market share, have poured sponsorship and marketing money into one of the world's largest sporting spectacles. Their financial dominance was evident on the field, where 27 of 32 competing teams wore uniforms, or so-called kits, made by one of the three companies.
The field was narrowed down to eight on Tuesday, and as the final stages of the tournament garner more interest, the winners on the field could help determine who prevails in the American-German marketing contest.
"Sponsorships can drive additional consumers if you're seeing your favorite player wearing a certain thing," said Nancy Smith, president of Analytic Partners.