(CNN) – Adidas, Nike and Under Armour are gearing up to take their battle for market share to the Olympic stage in Rio de Janeiro.
It is one of the most widely watched sporting events on earth, and the stakes are high.
Marathon great Mo Farah will go the distance. Kevin Durant is a slam dunk, and Carli Lloyd’s goal is to win the gold. All will be competing at the summer Olympics in Rio. And all are signed to Nike.
Few companies have more riding on the success of these games than the sports apparel king.
Nike made a significant investment to be the sponsor/partner of the Olympic Games. Estimates are somewhere between $25 and $40 million.
It’s not just superstars that Nike’s promoting. An ad featuring female members of India’s Olympic team is an internet hit, racking up some 3 million views
But hot on Nike’s heels is Adidas, which has spent big bucks on its “speed takes” campaign. Upstart Under Armour is also endorsing hundreds of Rio athletes.
New U.S. Olympic committee rules that allow smaller apparel firms greater marketing access to the games, could benefit Under Armour greatly.
However, Nike and Under Armour have had setbacks on the road to Rio.
Top golfer Rory McIlroy, who signed a massive 10 year deal with Nike, is pulling out because of Zika fears. So is Jordan Speith, who’s signed to Under Armour. NBA superstar Stephen Curry is staying home because of knee problems; his shoe line is one of Under Armour’s best performers
This sports apparel rivalry will continue well past Rio, as the next three Olympic Games are all in Asia – one of the big global markets for sports brands.
Any company, whether it’s Nike or Under Armour, that takes the mantle of being the sponsoring partner of those games is going to see a huge benefit, because it will have a real impact in the Asian marketplace.
The apparel giants will be battling for the gold, for years to come.
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