Football fans all over the world will have to wait for another 4 years to witness the next World Cup. This monumental football tournament showcases exciting and jaw-dropping game from your favorite football teams and players.

Whilst fans are looking forward to the games itself, commercial brands are looking forward to this event to maximize the marketing of their products. With millions of eyes watching the event, it’s a great opportunity to advertise their services and increase their sales and revenues. As an example, Nike increased its marketing spend by 36 percent to $876 million ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

FIFA, football’s international governing body, organizes the tournament. Sponsorship by brands is broken down into three tiers: partners, sponsors and regional sponsors. Partners get prime billing at the World Cup as they work with the organization at all level of the games all year round. Sponsors are smaller Confederations Cup only while regional sponsors are a slate of smaller organizations taken from different region.

Below are the big brands that dominated the sponsorships of World Cup 2018 in Russia.

  1. Adidas

Athletes:  Luis Suarez, Mesut Özil, Mohamed Salah, Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi

Teams:Colombia,  Mexico,Egypt, Japan, Morocco, Iran, Sweden, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Russia

Having signed 12 teams for sponsorship, Adidas is the running lead in the 2018 World Cup Season. They even managed to be ahead of Nike’s 10 teams. Their infamous Three Stripes logo was worn by all-time favorites Spain, Argentina and Germany and even the host country Russia. Iran may also be wearing Adidas, but the company did not sponsor this team, instead they sold their clothing to this team at a discounted price.

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told Marketing Week, “We see this as a brand-building event. The direct financing impact is limited and the football has over time, relative to the size of the company, become a small event from a financial standpoint — but not from a brand standpoint.”

Adidas’ crown jewels are club giants like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester United and the German national team. Last year, the brand signed worth approximately $57 million per year contract until 2022 with the German Football Association (DFB). This surpassed the $50 million Nike deal with the French national team, making it biggest national team deal in the world.

Aside from Messi, Paul Pogba was another talent that Adidas put a high investment on. They gave the France and Manchester United midfielder his own clothing line with street culture and high-end fashion as an inspiration. Pogba is a marketer’s dream with his celebratory dance moves, eye-catching playing style and flamboyant hairstyles.

Adidas was successful during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Germany did not only win the tournament but brand endorsers Colombia’s James Rodriguez grabbed the golden boot (top scorer) awards while Messi scooped the golden ball (best player)

Just as how M88 dominates Asia’s online betting and gaming site, Adidas was also dominating the most recent World Cup tournament.

  1. Nike

Athletes: Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo

Teams: France,Portugal, England, Nigeria,  South Korea, Poland, Australia, Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil

They may not have superstars Pogba or Messi, but Nike has the highest paid football player of 2018 Ronaldo. Plus, they also have Neymar under their wing. They also have the Nigeria national team where they make a record-breaking jersey pre-order of 3 million due to the team’s beautiful World Cup uniform. Virgil Abloh is another key player for the brand.

Ronaldo is a one-man marketing juggernaut, having 127 million Instagram followers. His “Just Do It” sketch posted on his Instagram got over 1.7 million “likes” and more than 12,000 comments. It $5.8 million in media value for Nike.

  1. PUMA

Athletes: Marco Reus, Sergio Aguero, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann

Teams: Senegal, Serbia, Switzerland , Uruguay

PUMA has worked so hard to be on the top of World Cup sponsorship; they spent tons of money to close a deal with with European club giants such as  Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal. PUMA may not have acquired the same stature as Adidas or Nike when it comes to football, but they definitely working hard to get there.

The 2018 World Cup was not the best season for Puma though. It’s quite unfortunate that three of their major African teams, Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast did not make the cut. Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and his heir apparent Gianluigi Donnarumma were both absent in Russia.

Down from eight at Brazil 2014, Puma will be the sponsor of uniforms for 4 teams, having recently added Serbia and Senegal to its roster post-qualifiers. Uruguay and Switxerland are the other two teams.


Outside of the big three – Adidas, Nike and Puma – the next question boils down to what brand other players will be wearing. It’s the same story uniform-wise with the other brands that will be featured in the tournament – Uhlsport (Tunisia) , Erreà (Iceland), Umbro (Peru), Hummel (Denmark) and New Balance (Costa Rica, Panama).

In the field of basketball, Under Armour built its entire basketball footwear division around superstar Stephen Curry. It seems to be a wise move since Curry’s million followers patronized the line of shoes as well. They have yet to choose a player of the same caliber in the field of football. Three of the brand’s notable representatives in Russia – Bayer Leverkusen and Germany defender Jonathan Tah, Liverpool’s rookie England full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka – are yet to match Curry’s strong media presence.

Under Armor may not have to wait long before they can add superstar football player to its ranks. After all, they have spent millions of dollars to secure a deal with top college sports programs and signed up great players such as golfer Jordan Spieth, tennis star Andy Murray, British boxer Anthony Joshua and Tom Brady. The brand seems to keep its focus in making its strong impression in the game.

Pirma, Umbro, Mizuno, Asics and Lotto are the other brands to have athlete endorsements at the World Cup.

Click here for more information about clothing brands that dominate the world of football.