Athletes Sponsored by Adidas and Endorsed by Nike

By Brandon Elson
Posted on June 13, 2019

Why companies like Nike and Adidas sponsor athletes and a list of famous sponsored athletes

What benefits do companies get from endorsing and sponsoring athletes? Companies like Nike and Adidas sponsor athletes for two main reasons: the first is to showcase their products and expand the potential customer base for the brand, and the second is for players to promote and advertise new designs and technology that the company has created and is trying to sell. A third smaller reason is for athletes to test new products and technology and give feedback to the brand for any changes they would want to the product before the product is launched to the public. The athlete serves as a public figure and global figurehead to showcase the brand.

Why do athletes want to be sponsored by Nike and Adidas?

Sponsorship is a highly sought after deal because of the benefits athletes receive, especially from big brands like Nike and Adidas. Sponsored athletes have the ability to focus solely on their training and not have to worry about where they get money to train or how they can buy products specific to their sport. The sponsorship funding allows them to hone their craft and become the best they can be to perform at the highest level. Brands want the athletes to have all this time to train and not stress about money so they can compete and win against top competition, which gives their brand more exposure and a better public image. Athletes want to be sponsored because of the financial benefits, the time to train, and the supply of performance products they receive from their sponsor.

How do brands like Nike and Adidas pick which athletes to sponsor?

There are a large number of factors that brands look at before offering their sponsorship to an athlete, and they mainly fall into two categories: on-field attributes and off-field characteristics. On-field attributes are pretty self explanatory. Brands want to see quality performance, winning records, high skill levels, personalized style of play, and potential growth. Off-field characteristics are more of the intangible kind of value. Brands want to see a vibrant personality, they want the athlete to be charismatic and charming, they want the athlete to be seen as a role model to young athletes, and they want to see that the athlete has good relations with their fans. The combination of these factors makes for the perfect athlete for sponsorship, because they will improve the image and reach of the brand.

Here’s a list of famous athletes sponsored by Nike

  • Mo Farah– a British long-distance runner who has 4 gold medals from the 2012 and 2016  Summer Olympics. He is the most successful long distance runner to be sponsored by Nike.
  • Tiger Woods– an American golfer who holds the record for the second most all-time major championships and PGA Tour wins.
  • Brooks Koepka– an American golfer who is the current world #1 golfer in the world golf rankings.
  • Kobe Bryant– an American basketball player and Los Angeles Lakers team legend, and a winner of 5 NBA titles.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo– a Portoguese soccer player, arguably the best soccer player in the world and of all time. He has 28 total trophies for club and country.
  • Roberto Firmino– a Brazilian soccer player, attacking player for Liverpool in the Premier League, and Champions League winner 2019.

NIKE also sponsors many other organizations and leagues of various sports around the world. Here are some of those

  • NFL, the national football league in America. Nike sponsors all the jerseys of every team.
  • The national soccer teams of notable successful countries including France, Portugal, England, Croatia, and Brazil.
  • Nike sponsors the match ball for many soccer leagues around the world, including the Premier League(England) and the Serie A(Italy).
  • The United States national basketball team.
  • The India national cricket team.

Adidas also sponsors some of the most famous athletes in the world. Here is a list of famous athletes sponsored by Adidas

  • Von Miller– an American football player and Super Bowl winner for the Denver Broncos.
  • Vincent Kompany– a Belgian soccer player for Manchester City, and a 4-time Premier League champion.
  • Paul Pogba– a French soccer player for Manchester United, and World Cup winner in 2018.
  • Lionel Messi– an Argentinian soccer player, arguable the best soccer player of all time, 5-time Ballon D’or winner and winner of 34 trophies for club and country.
  • Kylian Mbappe– a French soccer player, considered one of the best young players of his generation, and World Cup 2018 winner.
  • Kris Bryant– an American baseball player, World Series 2016 champion with the Chicago Cubs, and National League MVP in 2016.
  • Carlos Correa– a Puerto Rican baseball player for the Houston Astros, #1 pick of the 2012 MLB draft, and 2017 World Series winner.
  • Fred Van Vleet– an American basketball player for the Toronto Raptors.
  • Justin Rose– an English golfer, and current world golf #2 ranking player. He has 24 professional wins on the PGA and European Tours.
  • Sidney Crosby– a Canadian hockey player and 3-time Stanley Cup winner for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is considered one of the best hockey players of all time.

Adidas, like Nike, also sponsors many other organizations and leagues of various sports around the world. Here are some of those

  • Adidas has provided the match soccer balls for every World Cup since 1970, every European Championship since 1992, and every Olympic Games since 1996.
  • The national soccer teams of Belgium, Spain, Russia, Argentina, and Germany.
  • Various club soccer teams around the world such as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Celta Vigo.
  • Adidas sponsors all CFL teams(Canadien Football League)by providing jerseys.
  • Adidas sponsors both the National Hockey League(NHL) and the Canadian Hockey League(CHL).
  • The national rugby teams of the Czech Republic, New Zealand, and the United States.
  • The MLS (Major League Soccer).

Man, if you think that was a lot, just go on the Wikipedia pages for Adidas and Nike sponsorships, the lists are endless. I just provided a list of some of the more famous and more successful athletes on those lists. These brands sponsor tons of athletes so they can get more exposure and promotion. The ones you wouldn’t expect to see like rugby leagues or the Indian cricket league actually makes a lot of sense because the people that follow Indian cricket or Czechoslovakian rugby may not have heard about Nike and Adidas, but through sponsorships, they learn of the brand and become interested in it. The strategy behind sponsorships is very impressive and well thought-out.

The Wrap-Up

Sponsorships are a truly ingenious marketing strategy because both the athlete and the brand benefit in their own way. The athlete gets money, training gear, and financial peace of mind, while the brand gets increased exposure and growth in potential customers. It truly is a win-win for both parties. Other companies that sponsor athletes are other popular brands like Under Armour, Puma, New Balance etc. Any major sports brand you can think of probably sponsors athletes, and they have good reason for it. Now you know how and why brands like Adidas and Nike sponsor athletes, as well as how both the athlete and the brand benefit.