It would be the end of a marriage that began with 1954's Miracle of Bern. The relationship between the German Soccer Federation and sports firm Adidas is now in danger due to a flirtatious approach by US giant Nike. Jürgen Klinsmann, World Cup mascot Goleo, the national soccer team ... Is there anything the Americans are not prepared to take off Germany's hands?
While former German team coach Klinsi remains cagey about his courtship with the US Soccer Federation and the Strategic Value Partners investment group gets ready to save bankrupt German toymaker Nici, global sportswear giant Nike is lining up another audacious swoop.
The German national soccer team has long been associated with the country's premier sports brand Adidas. In fact, the company founded by Adi Dassler pioneered the link between sports firms and teams. The German team has always had their equipment designed and provided by Adidas -- but all that could change if Nike gets its way
Scenting blood in the air, the American firm is circling the current deal between the German Soccer Federation (DFB) and its incumbent supplier. Adidas says that it has an agreement with the DFB to renew its current contract until 2014, but the DFB maintains that while negotiations are continuing, no deal has been done
Nike deal worth 400 million euros
With the contract with the DFB apparently open, Nike has slapped a 50 million euros ($66.7 million) per year offer on the table to become the German national team equipment company. The Nike deal, which would be spread over eight years beginning in 2011, would net the DFB some 400 million euros.
"You can't ignore it," Werner Hackmann, vice-president of the DFB and chairman of the German Soccer League, said on Sunday. "It is a lot of money which soccer could use very well."
The figure is five times higher than the 10-11 million euros the DFB currently receives from long-time partners Adidas.
While the money is intoxicating, the DFB may use the Nike deal to put pressure on Adidas to come up with its own improved offer. Recent events have shown that just being German and having a long relationship with the DFB is no guarantee for a renewed contract.
The German company's negotiating positioned was weakened in the summer when the Germany players forced an agreement in which they could chose their own soccer boots instead of being restricted to those provided by Adidas.
US firm hope Germany joins Brazil on team roster
The German national team is one of the top sides in the world, with three World Cup titles and three European championship wins. Germany came third at the World Cup on home soil this summer and wrestling the team away from Adidas would be a major coup for Nike.
Nike has contracts with other top teams led by five-time World Cup winners Brazil
Germany mulls offer from Nike to switch from Adidas
By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The German Football Association (DFB) has received an offer worth 56 million euros ($75 million) a year from Nike to switch allegiance from long-time equipment supplier Adidas, a German sports newspaper reported on Friday.
Kicker newspaper said Nike had offered the DFB 400 million euros for an eight-year deal from 2011 plus a 50 million euro signing bonus on top.
The German FA (DFB) confirmed it had received a "very interesting offer" from Nike for the period after its contract with Adidas expires at the end of 2010 but declined to provide further details.
Germany have won three World Cups wearing Adidas boots and have enjoyed close ties to the Bavarian sportswear maker since founder Adi Dassler helped them win their first world title in 1954 with his revolutionary screw-in studs.
"It's a highly interesting offer from the business point of view," said Werner Hackmann, president of the German football league (DFL) that represents professional clubs in the DFB who would also get a share.
DFB president Theo Zwangziger presented the Nike offer to the association's executive board last week.
"Theo Zwangziger informed the DFB executive that the association has received a very interesting offer from Nike," DFB spokesman Harald Stenger said in a statement.
Germany says Nike's offer worth $777 million
2 feb 2007
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Nike has made a €600 million (US$777 million) offer to the German soccer federation to replace Adidas as the official supplier of its men's and women's teams.
Federation president Theo Zwanziger confirmed the figure for the first time Tuesday at a news conference. The offer itself has been known for months.
"I can't say I am selling a product for one-sixth of what someone else is offering me," Zwanziger said.
Nike has offered a €500 million eight-year deal, plus a €50 million signing bonus and ?50 million for the German women's team, which won the 2003 World Cup title.
Adidas is based in Germany and began sponsoring the country's national team before it won the first of its three World Cup titles in 1954.
Germany and Adidas have held inconclusive talks on the future of the current contract. The two sides cannot agree if the current sponsoring deal ends in 2011, as contented by DFB, or in 2014, as argued by Adidas.
More talks will be held, Zwanziger said.