The story of adidas is essentially the story of Adolf Dassler, the creator and founder of the sports goods company. His idea was to provide athletes with the optimal equipment for their sport. What started out in 1920 in a small workshop as a three-man business in the Franconian town of Herzogenaurach is now the largest brand in world football.
Born on 3 November 1900 in Herzogenaurach, Adolf Dassler trained as a baker on the urgings of his father. However, the outbreak of World War I shortly after his apprenticeship meant he was unable to practice the skills he had learned. When he returned from the war in 1919, the then 19-year-old did not want to work as a baker and decided to pursue his dream of being a shoemaker.
Dassler’s mother’s old laundry was promptly converted into a modest 20-square-metre workshop. But the sports fanatic would need to be highly inventive to work in the difficult post-war years, with no machines, electricity or suitable materials available.
Initially, Dassler's business resembled that of any other shoemaker’s, but he never game up his dream and passion to develop shoes specifically for sport. After a difficult period of inflation and unemployment, Adolf’s brother Rudolf joined the business in 1924. As a trained salesman, Rudolf was primarily responsible for administrative tasks, while Adolf concentrated on development and production
The brothers founded the ‘Dassler Brothers’ (Sport) Shoe Factory’ in 1924, initially employing just 12 workers. Toiling around the clock from their expanded workshop, the brothers and their staff managed to produce 50 shoes per day. In 1925, Dassler obtained his first patents: one for a running shoe with hand-forged spikes, and another for a football boot with nailed leather studs.
The Dassler brothers continued to consolidate their athletics lines, providing footwear for many competitors at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. At the Los Angeles Games in 1932, German Arthur Jonath became the first athlete to win a medal wearing Dassler shoes when he claimed bronze in the 100m sprint – the ultimate endorsement for the enterprising brothers. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, athletes wearing Dassler shoes won no fewer than 40 gold medals, including four by the legendary American athlete Jesse Owens.
However, the outbreak of World War II almost spelt the end for the Dassler shoe factory. The plant was seized by the German military and the two brothers drafted into the army along with many of their employees. Only Adolf Dassler was allowed to return home a year later to manufacture goods for the German military.
Necessity breeds invention
After the War, Dassler continued to produce sports shoes for the American military administration, receiving materials such as discarded military tents, fuel tanks from fighter planes and leather baseball mitts in payment. Such were the emergency materials used to produce Dassler’s first independent products. The brothers separated after the war and Rudolf started his own company, which would also gain world renown in the sports goods market under the name PUMA.
Adolf Dassler renamed his own company after the split, opting for a combination of his own nickname ‘Adi’ and the first letters of his surname “Das“. It was thus that the global brand name, adidas, was born. In 1948, Dassler’s search for a striking visual image to make his shoes more recognisable from afar culminated in the famous three-stripe design, now one of the most recognisable trademarks in the world.
The following year, adidas replaced a Freiburg shoemaker as the official supplier of the German national football team, which would go on to win the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time in 1954 wearing adidas boots. Subsequently, the company expanded its lines to produce footballs and, eventually, a wide range of clothing.
Adolf Dassler died on 6 September 1978 aged 78 after suffering a heart attack, but his legacy lives on through his company. Today, adidas is the largest brand in world football, employing more than 17,000 people worldwide in 2006. At the beginning of 2005, led by Chairman Herbert Hainer, adidas became the first FIFA Partner to extend its association with world football’s governing body, becoming the official supplier of sports goods for the period 2007 to 2014.
ADIDAS FOOTBALL SHIRT HISTORY
While adidas led the way in boot production in the 1950s and 1960s, the Herzogenaurach company was something of a latecomer to the sports clothing market.
The traditional meeting at the Malente sports college to clothe the players before the 1962 FIFA World Cup™ in Chile was to prove a landmark event. At the time, the German national team were using sportswear supplied by Schwahn, whose tracksuit bottoms were fashionably wide in the leg though somewhat impractical for everyday training.
This detail did not go unnoticed by Adolf Dassler, who was present to fit the players with his company’s boots. The adidas boss, famed for his creativity, was not satisfied with the trousers and asked the Schwahn representative Willi Seltenreich to supply him with some "tracksuits with three stripes down the side of the trousers and sleeves", specifically requesting that the trouser bottoms be ftight-fitting and not of the wide-legged variety".
Seltenreich fulfilled the order, but since the design was already too late for the FIFA World Cup, the new tracksuits were first worn by Bayern Munich. Such was the success of the clothing that Schwahn became an exclusive manufacturer for adidas in 1964. A few years later, Adolf Dassler acquired the entire company and, from that moment on, adidas produced their own lines of clothing.
In the late 60s and early 70s, increasing problems with trademark counterfeiting prompted Dassler to develop a new logo. In 1972, the famous Trefoil logo was born that would go on to become the company’s official trademark, adorning every item of clothing.
After a period of increasing success for adidas products, the Franconian company launched its first leisure collection in 1974. Today, the world of sports clothing would be unimaginable without the famous three stripes. Since the 1974 FIFA World Cup, when Germany lifted the new Trophy for the first time, five world champions have toasted their success in adidas shirts. The Herzogenaurach company dressed the title-winning teams of Argentina in 1978 and 1986, Germany FR in 1990, and shared in French celebrations in 1998.
The long history and success of adidas timeline
1920 - Adi Dassler made his first shoes using the few materials available after the First World War in his workshop in Herzogenaurach near Nuremberg in Germany. The shoe made of canvas was a training shoe for runners and cost two reichsmarks. Adi Dassler followed three guiding principles in his development work: produce the best shoe for the requirements of the sport, protect the athlete from injury, and make the product durable
1925 - Adi Dassler develops the first special shoes for soccer and track & field. For the first time shoes with studs and spikes are introduced. He also constructs different shoes for the different distances and uses state-of-the-art materials to achieve a saving in weight.
1928 - Adi Dassler's shoes are worn at the Olympic Games for the first time. Adi Dassler takes care of "his" athletes in Amsterdam and strives to optimize the respective shoes, working closely with athletes. Adi Dassler produces the "Waitzer", the first track shoes for an Olympic athlete.
1931 - Adi Dassler makes his first tennis shoes.
1932 - Los Angeles - Arthur Jonath places third in the 100 meters, becoming the first athlete to win a medal in shoes made by Adi Dassler.
1936 - Berlin - Jesse Owens wins four GOLD medals wearing shoes that boast specially positioned spikes and a low-cut upper. He sets new bests in almost all of the twelve events in which he competes. The black US-American is the most successful athlete in Berlin.
1937 - Adi Dassler's range now comprises 30 different shoes for a total of eleven sports.
1938 - Adi bought a second production facility in the center of Herzogenaurach
1946 - The first Adi Dassler sports shoes produced after the war are made using canvas and rubber from American fuel tanks
1947 - Birth of the Salomon brand: a French family sets up an atelier in Annecy where they produce skis1948 - Adi Dassler starts up production again, with 47 workers. Adi Dassler first introduced adidas as a company name (named after its founder: 'Adi' from Adolf and 'Das' from Dassler).The three stripes were originally developed as a way to stabilize the midfoot, but soon became synonymous with the Adidas brand.
1948 - Adi’s brother Rudolph Dassler split and formed his own company called Puma. Horst (Adi's son) split off from his parents and formed a rival company in France; Horst took over the parent company in 1985.
1949 - adidas is registered as a company along with registered the Three Stripes logo as an adidas trademark. Adi Dassler focuses his efforts on new soccer shoes. He produces his first shoes with moulded rubber studs.
1950 - The first of the "Samba" all-round soccer shoes are launched on the market. The Samba continues to be regarded as the classic all-round training shoe today.
1952 - adidas is the most widely worn German sports shoe brand at the Olympic Games in Helsinki. For the first time track shoes with removable spikes are used. Emil Zatopek wins three gold medals in one week, in adidas shoes. He triumphs in the 5,000 m and 10,000 m and in the marathon. An achievement that has not been repeated since in or out of Adidas shoes. The first adidas sports bags are introduced.
1954 - The German Nation Team won the Football (Soccer) World Cup for the first time, wearing Adidas shoes with revolutionary screw-in studs.Adi Dassler is at the game in Berne; at half-time he adapts the players' shoes to the ground conditions, using screw-in studs. The soccer shoe worn in the Final in Berne is later called "World Champion". In total, 450,000 pairs of shoes were produced in that year.
1955 - High jumping is revolutionized with a shoe featuring exchangeable spikes.
1956 - Melbourne - Al Oerter wins the first of his four GOLD medals.
1957 - The first track shoe made with a nylon sole and four spikes.
1959 - Establishing and building up products facilities in France was the first major task entrusted to Horst, the then 22 yr old son of Adi and Kathe Dassler. In Scheinfeld, he then opened a second German Adidas factory.
1960 - At the Olympic Games in Rome, 75 percent of all track & field athletes rely on adidas shoes. Wilma Rudolph, who suffered from polio as a child, takes the gold in the 100 m and 200 m and in the 4x100 m relay. To mark the Olympic Games, the "Rom" training shoe is launched. Today, this classic is one of the top trend shoes and is now being produced again in small quantities.
1961 - Adidas began production of apparel and balls.
1962 - adidas shoes dominate the Soccer World Cup in Chile. They are worn in all 32 games. The first Adidas track suits with the Three Stripes were produced.
1963 - The first commercial adidas balls are developed and produced.
1964 -Tokyo - Billy Mills is the surprise winner in the men's 10,000 meters; adidas presents the lightest track shoe ever made. The "Tokio 64" weighs just 135 grams per shoe. At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Willi Holdorf is the first German to take gold in the decathlon. Adidas brand dominated the Tokyo Olympic Games with 80% of all athletes wearing the famous Three Stripes.
1967 - The first commercial adidas sports apparel is produced - with the ever popular Three Stripes, of course.
1968 - At the Olympic Games in Mexico, athletes wearing Adidas products continued to be medal winners and leaders.Dick Fosbury clears 2.24 m with a new high jump technique and takes the gold medal. In total, they won 37 gold medals, 35 silver medals, and 35 bronze medals. Also in 1968, "Achille" was introduced to the market as the first real jogging shoe. adidas is the first company in the world to produce injection-moulded multi-stud soles of polyurethane, giving a one-year guarantee on the sole.
1969 - The first weightlifting shoe with a wooden sole is produced.
1970 - In Mexico an adidas ball, the "Telstar", is the official ball at a Soccer World Cup for the first time. Right up until the present day, all goals at major soccer events are scored with adidas balls
1971 - Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier faced each other in the "Fight of the Century", both wearing special boxing shoes designed by Adi Dassler and Adidas.
1972 - The "Trefoil Logo" is introduced. The 3 leaves symbolize the Olympic spirit, linked to the three continental plates. Adidas became the official supplier of the Munich Olympics, and the German National Team won the European Football Championship while wearing Adidas shoes. At the Olympic Games in Munich, Ulrike Meyfarth wins her first Olympic gold in the high jump. Teofilo Stevenson collects the second of his three boxing GOLDS.
1974 - German once again became the World Cup Champion while wearing Adidas. Runner-up Holland wears the famous 3 stripes on it's shoulder for the 1'st time in a World Cup Final. 80% of all players at the competition held in Germany wore Adidas shoes and apparel. The first adidas tennis rackets are launched. 1976 - Montreal - Nadia Comaneci registers the first "10" in gymnastics history. Edwin Moses wins gold in the 400 m and 800 m at the Olympic Games in Montreal. The "TRX" jogging shoe is introduced. adidas also sets the pace in the winter sports sector, with newly developed X-country ski bindings.
1978 - Argentina wins the World Cup 78 wearing adidas.The runner-up Holland also wears adidas. All goals at the Soccer World Cup in Argentina are scored with the "Tango", the official matchball. 1979 - The "Copa Mundial", the world's best-selling soccer shoe ever, is launched.
1980 - The German team wins the European Soccer Championship for the second time, outfitted from head to toe in adidas. Moscow - Daley Thompson wins the first of two GOLDS in the decathlon.
1983 - Horst Dassler founded the "International Sports Culture and Leisure (ISL)," the first worldwide marketing company dedicated to sports events
1984 - At the Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles, 124 out of 140 nations compete in adidas. 259 medals are won in products with the Three Stripes. Ulrike Meyfarth wins her second Olympic gold medal (after 1972) in the high jump. Edwin Moses takes Olympic GOLD with his 105th straight win in the 400 meter hurdles.
1985 - Eleven out of twelve teams at the European Basketball Championships put their trust in the Three Stripes. The "Marathon Training" running shoe is awarded a "very good" rating by Stiftung Warentest, the independent German consumer test institute. adidas is awarded the "German Marketing Prize". adidas star Ivan Lendl plays his way to the top of the world tennis rankings.
1986 - Again the spotlight is on adidas at the Soccer World Cup in Mexico. Argentina wins the World Cup 1986 wearing adidas. Runner-up Germany ofcourse also wears adidas The adidas Azteca, the world's first synthetic World Cup matchball, is introduced.
1987 - Horst Dassler, CEO since 1985 dies at age 51, leaving Adidas leaderless.
1988 - Holland wins EURO88 wearing adidas. earlier that year PSV eindhoven won the EC1 wearing adidas. Seoul - Steffi Graf wins the women's singles GOLD in tennis. adidas launches the revolutionary "TORSION®" sole system, still used today for a wide variety of sports shoes.
1989 - Horst Dassler's sisters sold the company to French Financier, Bernard Tapi for $320 million.adidas becomes a corporation ("Aktiengesellschaft"), but retains its family ownership.
1991 - adidas EQUIPMENT is launched. The new label denotes performance-orientated footwear and apparel.
1992 - At the Olympic Games in Barcelona Heike Henkel takes the gold in the high jump.Naim Süleymanoglu earns his second of three GOLDS in weightlifting The first adidas Streetball tournament takes place in Marx Engels Square in Berlin. Considered merely a trend in 1992, Streetball has since become firmly established as a sport. Thousands of players compete to win in 3-on-3 fair-play games.
1993 - (February) adidas acquired Sports Inc., a US-based sports marketing company founded by former Nike executives Rob Strasser and Peter Moore (Adidas). 1993 (April) - Robert Louis-Dreyfus the turn-around artist, accepted the position as President of Adidas. Adidas was loosing $100 million a year. He downsized the German staff (14,600 in 1986 to 4,600 in 1994) and went subcontracting to China with the pack. Once with 70% of the U.S. market share, Adidas’ fell to only 2% by 1993. As Louis-Dreyfus puts it, "All I did was borrow what Nike and Reebok were doing. It was there for everybody to see.
New sales and marketing strategies pave the way for the successful turnaround. The Originals wave surfaces. Trendsetters such as Madonna wear classic sports footwear and apparel of the 1970s. The "Gazelle" is produced again in small quantities.
1994 - The year of the comeback. adidas reports a clear upward trend in sales and profits. "Predator®" is the name of the revolutionary soccer shoe introduced on the occasion of the Soccer World Cup in the USA. The "adidas Predator Cup", a soccer tournament for young talent, takes place for the first time in co-operation with the adidas Bundesliga clubs in Germany.
The French company Mavic joins the Salomon Group. Mavic is "all about love for cycling, which leads to the designing and manufacturing of great products that offer a real difference when you ride them".
1995 - It is now 75 years since Adi Dassler made his first shoes. adidas sets milestones in the events scene. adidas attracts participants and spectators to its events in the sectors of basketball, Streetball, soccer, track & field, outdoor and tennis. Six years after the family-owned company was transformed into a corporation, adidas goes public. The adidas share is one of the most interesting new listings on the stock market in Germany. Flotation of the company on the Frankfurt and Paris Stock Exchange; Steve Wynne was selected as the new president and CEO of US-adidas. August, 7th,
In December Bonfire, the American snowboard apparel brand, joins the Salomon Group, bringing some energy and youthful influence to the group1996 - 1996
1996 - 1996 turns out to be one of the most successful years in adidas history. At the European Soccer Championship and the Atlanta Olympic Games adidas successfully underlines its ambition to become the best sports brand in the world.
Five of the 16 teams at the European Championship wear adidas. adidas also supplies the Official Matchball and equips the referees and linesmen. The innovative adidas soccer shoes with Traxion sole technology are an instant success and represent a new milestone in the development of soccer shoes. The German team wins the European Soccer Championship - fully outfitted in adidas.
adidas has chosen 1996, the centenary of the modern Olympic Games, to celebrate past successes and triumphs still to come - symbolized by the concept "We knew then - we know now". This concept reaps rich rewards with gold medals by Donovan Bailey (Canada) in the 100 meters, Lars Riedel (Germany) in the discus, Nourredine Morceli (Algeria) in the 1500 meters, Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) in the 10,000 meters and Felix Savon (Cuba) in boxing. adidas equips 33 nations in Atlanta; 6,000 participants wear adidas, and adidas supplies products for 21 of the 26 sports. No other brand has been so closely associated with so many athletes in so many sports over so many years as adidas.
1997 - A new generation of adidas athletes symbolizes the innovative technologies and contemporary design of adidas products. This concept centres on an extensive communication campaign around the new basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, who already enjoys cult status in the USA as the youngest NBA player of all time.
Anna Kournikova in tennis, and David Beckham and Alessandro del Piero in soccer are just some of the other exceptional talents in their sport who are on the way to become the stars of the future, with adidas.
adidas announces the acquisition of the Salomon Group (with the brands Salomon, TaylorMade, Mavic and Bonfire). This acquisition creates one of the world's leading sporting goods groups with a portfolio of outstanding brands. The name of the new group will be changed to adidas-Salomon AG. The complementary fit of the two companies is excellent, both in terms of products (sports footwear, apparel and equipment for adidas, winter sports equipment, golf clubs and cycling components for the Salomon Group) and in terms of geographic balance. Salomon has an especially strong presence in North America and Japan, while adidas is very well established in Europe. The new group becomes the second largest sporting goods marketer worldwide.
ADIDAS spends 13% of the proceeds on promotion (daily FAZ). 1996 - Adidas revenue jumped from $1.7 billion in 1992 to $2.8 billion in 1996 1997 - (September)
Adidas purchases the French sports equipment group Salomon S.A. for $1.4 billion (shareholder capitalization is $3.6 billion p. 8). acquires the Salomon Group with the brands Salomon, Taylor Made, Mavic and Bonfire in December 1997. The new company is named adidas-Salomon AG. Taylor Made clubs now owned by Adidas has an advertising contract with Tiger Woods. (See Kyle Bruns 1997, December (Adidas Company Analysis)
1998 - In June the adidas-Salomon share is admitted to the DAX, comprising Germany's 30 largest quoted companies.
The highlight of 1998 is the FIFA World Cup in France. adidas is the first sporting goods company to be named Official Sponsor of a Soccer World Cup and equips hosts France, who go on to become the new World Champions. adidas has worldwide license rights to the world's biggest single sporting event. adidas supplies the official World Cup matchball, equips 12,000 World Cup officials and volunteers, outfits the referees and linesmen and delivers numerous revolutionary soccer technologies. Alongside France, adidas is official supplier to Argentina, Germany, Yugoslavia, Romania and Spain.
(July) (Reuters) Chinese dissidents sue Adidas, call for boycott "Adidas on Wednesday said it had stopped orders for soccer balls made in China while it investigated the allegations, first raised last month by Bao (founder of Voice of Human Rights in China) who said he personally manufactured soccer balls for the World Cup while in prison." ... ``Adidas knowingly used forced labor at the expense of the health and freedom of these Chinese citizens,'' said Joel Segal, an attorney with the Free China Movement which announced the lawsuit on Thursday
1999 - In the spring, adidas-Salomon employees move into reconfigurated and refurbished headquarters. With the creation of the so-called "World of Sports" on a former US Army base, adidas-Salomon AG decides long-term in favour of Herzogenaurach as the company's corporate headquarters, and thus in favour of the birthplace of the adidas brand. In the first phase, the campus-style World of Sports provides space for 600 people working in the Global Marketing Departments.
adidas celebrates its 50th anniversary. And following a successful turnaround, the company is now in top form. For the first time, adidas-Salomon AG exceeds DM 10 billion, with sales of DM 10,471 billion. The number of employees now totals 12,829 worldwide.
adidas is Official Sponsor of the Women's World Cup 1999 in the USA, underlining its dominant position as the number one soccer brand. Alongside Germany, adidas is partner to Sweden, Japan, China and Australia. The Three Stripes are also highly visible at the last sporting highlight of the millennium. adidas, as Official Sponsor, dominates the World Track & Field Championships in Seville, and is once again supplier to numerous federations and athletes. Additionally, adidas is named Official Supplier and Licensee for the European Soccer Championship in 2000.
In November, Herbert Hainer is appointed as Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of adidas-Salomon AG. He is to become Robert Louis-Dreyfus' successor as CEO in spring 2001.
2000 - With its adidas brand, adidas-Salomon dominates the two outstanding sports events of the year: the European Soccer Championship in Holland and Belgium, and the Olympic Summer Games in Sydney. adidas, Official Supplier and Licensee of EURO 2000™, equips European Champions France and the most outstanding player of the tournament, Zinedine Zidane. Alongside Zidane, David Beckham (England), Patrick Kluivert (Holland) and Alessandro del Piero (Italy) wear the revolutionary new adidas soccer shoe, the EQUIPMENT Predator® Precision. More than 25% of the goals in this tournament are scored by players wearing this shoe. The adidas EQUIPMENT Silverstream is the Official Matchball of the tournament.
In Sydney, adidas underlines its competence as an Olympic brand. adidas is represented in 26 of 28 sports. More than 3,000 athletes wear adidas. adidas develops revolutionary products based on the concept of "Energy Maintenance" for six sports: swimming, track & field, cycling, fencing, weightlifting and wrestling. The most lasting impression of all is left by the adidas EQUIPMENT Full Body Swimsuit, in which Ian Thorpe, Australia's 17-year-old national hero, wins three gold medals and sets four world records, becoming the star of Sydney Olympics.
With the "Road to Sydney" program, adidas produces the first sporting goods soap in the industry's history. It is televised worldwide by leading TV channels. Prior to this, adidas is named "Advertiser of the Year" and is presented with the prestigious Clio Award in New York.
In October, adidas-Salomon AG is selected to join the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index (DJSGI). The DJSGI is the world's first global index tracking the performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. In the Annual Review 2000, Dow Jones analysed the social, environmental and financial performance of adidas-Salomon AG and concluded that adidas-Salomon is an industry leader on sustainability issues. In particular Dow Jones recognised that adidas-Salomon has made significant progress in improving the social and environmental conditions in the factories which supplies its products.
adidas underlines its position as the undisputed market leader in soccer and signs a long-term agreement as Official Sponsor and Licensee of the FIFA World CupTM 2002 and 2006 and the Women's World Cup 2003.
In October, in New York, adidas-Salomon presents an exciting new structure for its core brand, adidas. Instead of the traditional divisional structure of Footwear and Apparel/Accessories, adidas now has three divisions: Forever Sport, Original and EQUIPMENT. (As of 2002 the divisions are called: adidas Sport Performance, adidas Sport Heritage, adidas Sport Style)
November 3 marks the 100th birthday of the late Adi Dassler, the founder of adidas.
adidas-Salomon´s sales are at a new record level in 2000 reaching € 5.8 billion. The Growth and Efficiency Program, initiated earlier in the year, is completed, successfully paving the way for future success for the Group.
Herbert Hainer is officially appointed as CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of adidas-Salomon AG effective March 8, 2001.
adidas, as the first brand in the sporting goods industry, launches the "Customization Experience" project introducing a new business model in the industry giving consumers the opportunity to create their own unique footwear to their exact personal specifications in terms of function, fit and looks.
In September the first adidas Originals store opens in Berlin, followed by Tokyo in December. In addition, the first adidas megastores open in Paris and Amsterdam.
adidas and Germany's most successful football club FC Bayern Munich agree on a unique strategic partnership. While acquiring a 10% stake in FC Bayern Munich AG, adidas renews its contract as official sponsor, supplier and licensee until 2010.
adidas-Salomon achieves record-breaking sales of € 6.1 billion. The management keeps the promise of a 15% increase in earnings per share by putting together a team that is committed to maximizing the financial results for the Group's passion for performance, innovation and heritage.
adidas-Salomon ends the year as the top performer in the DAX-30, Germany's leading stock index, with a gain of 28%, and the share price outperforms the index by 48%.
2002 - At the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City adidas and Salomon athletes win a combined 191 medals (62 gold, 67 silver and 62 bronze). adidas outfits more than 50% of all individual athletes, eight National Olympic teams and several sports federations at these Games. Overall highlights include Christoph Langen and André Lange in bobsled and the victorious German womens´ biathlon team, all wearing adidas. The list of victorious Salomon athletes is headed by Janica Kostelic who wins a historical 4 medals (including 3 golds) at any Winter Games in alpine skiing, and Fritz Strobl who wins the marquee men´s downhill event, both wearing Salomon skis.
adidas opens its new North American headquarters in February. The adidas Village, as it is called, is located 5 minutes from downtown Portland in an area undergoing a program of urban renewal and unites all adidas and Salomon employees in Portland, Oregon under one roof.
In March, ClimaCoolTM, adidas' footwear innovation featuring a 360º ventilation system, makes its global debut. Through the introduction of new, breathable materials in all areas of the shoe, ClimaCoolTM allows consumers' feet to "feel the breeze". One month later, adidas introduces its second innovation for the year. a3 (pronounced "a-cubed") is more than a cushioning system. It is an Energy Management system that cushions, guides and drives the foot for the perfect footstrike.
The 2002 FIFA World CupTM in Korea and Japan in June gives adidas the perfect platform to further strengthen and extend its leadership in football. adidas presents the Predator® Mania, an improved version of our earlier Predator® boots and football players wear jerseys with the Dynamic Layering Concept. The FevernovaTM is the Official Match Ball for the 2002 FIFA World Cup .
adidas confirms its football leadership by selling over 6 million footballs, more than 1.5 million replica jerseys and over half a million pairs of Predator® Mania.
In July, adidas-Salomon completes its revolutionary three-divisional structure for its core brand, adidas, and positions its third division as 'adidas Sport Style - the future in sportswear'. The other two existing divisions change their name into: adidas Sport Performance and adidas Sport Heritage. The world-famous Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto is appointed as Creative Director of the new adidas Sport Style division. And in October the first collection of the adidas Sport Style division designed by Yohji Yamamoto is presented in Paris' Stade de Charlety.
As in 2001, the adidas-Salomon share is once again the top performer in the DAX-30, Germany's leading stock index. Group sales rise 7% to reach a record level of € 6.5 billion.
2003 - adidas signs a sponsorship agreement for the European Football Championships 2004 in Portugal, thus becoming the official sponsor of every major football tournament and event. Besides the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ and the UEFA Champions League™, adidas is also already signed on as the official sponsor for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. With the agreement, the company once again manifests its position as the world’s leading football brand.
Over the summer, the new JetConcept makes its successful entry into the swimming world when adidas launches this new bodysuit at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, an event also sponsored by the company. Thanks to small integrated riblets, the JetConcept reduces the drag a swimmer faces in the water. Ian Thorpe, the first swimmer to ever wear the revolutionary suit, wins three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal.
In order to optimize its debt structure and financing terms, adidas-Salomon launches a € 400 million convertible bond offering in August. The bond’s maturity is set at 15 years and is convertible into approximately 4 million shares of adidas-Salomon AG.
In September, adidas-Salomon is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) for the fourth consecutive time. The DJSI, the world’s first global sustainability indices, were launched in 1999 and analyse the performance of the world’s leading sustainability-driven companies. The repeated selection of adidas-Salomon once again proves the company’s industry-leading commitment in social and environmental affairs.
Also in September, adidas opens three new Originals Stores. The store in Miami South Beach marks the second opening in the US after New York. Korea welcomes its first adidas Originals Store in Seoul, and Italy sees a new grand opening in Milan.
In October, the adidas sponsored German football team celebrates its fourth title at the 2003 Women´s Football World Cup in the United States. Nia Künzer scores the Golden Goal for the 2-1 victory over Sweden in an unforgettable final.
In November, Herbert Hainer, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of adidas-Salomon AG, receives the Bambi in the business category.
In December, adidas moves some of the major marketing positions to its North American headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Erich Stamminger, in addition to his responsibilities as member of the Executive Board of adidas-Salomon AG, takes on the position as CEO and President of adidas America Inc. This move allows adidas to further strengthen its efforts in North America.
At the end of the year, adidas celebrates the opening of the new Factory Outlet in Herzogenaurach. The outlet consists of a 3,500 square metre building with sales floor space of around 2,000 square metres.
Despite tough market conditions, 2003 turns out to be a record year for adidas-Salomon. Sales reach € 6.3 billion, which equals a 5% improvement in currency-neutral terms. Net income increases by 14% to € 260 million: another record high.
2004 - "Impossible is nothing" is the central message of a global brand campaign that adidas launches in February. It brings to life the attitude adidas shares with athletes around the world – the desire to render the impossible possible, to push yourself further, to surpass limits, to break new ground. The campaign shows the rich stable of adidas athletes past and present, including the greatest of all time, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, football icon David Beckham and NBA star Tracy McGrady.
At the beginning of the year adidas launches the new PredatorPulse™, the best football boot ever made, thus underlining its position as the number one brand in football. The new Predator® football boot features the revolutionary PowerPulse™ technology. This technology is based on a simple principle already used in the construction of tennis rackets and golf clubs: optimal distribution of the mass. The Predator®, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year, is the world’s best selling football boot and is endorsed by some of the world’s best players such as FIFA World Player of the Year Zinédine Zidane, David Beckham, Raúl, Michael Ballack, Kaká and Rui Costa.
In March adidas and David Beckham take their long-lasting relationship to an even higher level. They extend their contract until 2008 and at the same time unveil David Beckham’s personal logo. This logo represents the merging together of two of the most powerful brands in world sport.
adidas has a role as a National Supporter and Official Licensee of UEFA EURO 2004™ in Portugal and Official Supplier of the matchball, the Roteiro™. adidas outfits five federations: Greece, France, Germany, Spain and Latvia.
The UEFA EURO 2004™ ends with a tremendous success of the Greek national football team. The Greek team clearly proves that sport is about achieving the impossible. When they entered EURO, Greece had never won a match in a major tournament. When they left, they were European Champions. With this victory, five out of the six most recent European champions were wearing the adidas Three Stripes.
For adidas, the UEFA EURO 2004™ also proves to be a commercial success. More than 1.3 million replica jerseys, over 1.2 million UEFA EURO 2004™ licensed products and more than 250,000 pieces of our newly introduced women’s football range have been sold.
In August adidas uses the Olympic Games in Athens as a platform for showcasing its brand once again. adidas is official outfitter of 21 National Olympic Committees, including host nation Greece, the USA, Germany, Great Britain, France and Cuba. In total, more than 4,000 athletes from 45 different countries compete in three stripes and adidas provides products for 26 out of the 28 Olympic sports.
Athletes wearing adidas shoes or apparel win 101 gold, 73 silver and 93 bronze medals. Among the successful adidas athletes are record-setting swimmer star Ian Thorpe (Australia), high jumper Hestrie Cloete (South Africa), running legend Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), weightlifter Pyrros Dimas (Greece), 100m World Champion Kim Collins (St. Kitts and Nevis), Olympic Sprint Champion Maurice Greene (USA) and the record-breaking decathlete Roman Sebrle (Czech Republic), who debut adidas’ latest innovations in footwear and apparel at the Olympic Games.
In September adidas and Stella McCartney announce a long-term partnership, presenting the adidas by Stella McCartney sport performance collection. For the first time ever a high-end fashion designer has created a functional sport performance range for women. The first collection is available in stores across the US, Japan and Europe starting spring/summer 2005.
In December, after three years of highly confidential in-house development, the most advanced shoe ever hits selected markets: the "adidas_1" provides intelligent cushioning by automatically and continuously adjusting itself. It does so by sensing the cushioning level, using a sensor and a magnet. It then understands whether the cushioning level is too soft or too firm via a small computer.
2004 is another outstanding year for adidas-Salomon AG. The gross margin reaches an all-time high of 47.2%, net income increases to 21% and sales grow 7% to reach € 6.478 billion. Sales in the football category see a more than 20% increase to over € 900 million.
2005 - New partnerships are signed at the beginning of 2005: adidas announces its new role as the Official Sportswear Partner for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Additionally, adidas will outfit the Chinese Olympic teams for the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. This agreement will be a powerful contributor to increasing adidas’ brand profile with consumers in the Asian market. Together with Chelsea Football Club, adidas also announces a sponsorship agreement which comes into effect for the 2006/7 season.
On May 2, adidas-Salomon AG enters into a sale and purchase agreement to sell its Salomon business segment, including the related subsidiaries and brands Salomon, Mavic, Bonfire, Arc’Teryx and Cliché, to the Amer Sports Corporation. The transaction is completed on October 19, 2005.
In July, adidas-Salomon AG and Porsche Design Group sign a long-term strategic partnership including licensing agreement. The objective of the cooperation is to jointly establish a hi-tech premium brand in the sports sector. The first products will be available in 2007 worldwide.
In the run-up to the Track and Field World Championships, adidas and Polar introduce the world’s first completely integrated training system. Called ‘Project Fusion’, it seamlessly integrates Polar heart rate and speed and distance monitoring equipment into adidas apparel and footwear. The products will be available in spring 2006.
adidas athlete Elena Isinbayeva makes history and becomes the first female pole vaulter to clear 5 metres. At the Track and Field World Championships in Helsinki, Elena beats her own world record by one centimetre. Other adidas athletes are also successful: Jeremy Wariner (400m), Allyson Felix (200m) and Jaouad Gharib (marathon) dominate their disciplines to become World Champions.
On August 3, adidas-Salomon AG announces the planned acquisition of Reebok. The combination of adidas and Reebok accelerates the adidas Group’s strategic intent in the global athletic footwear, apparel and hardware markets. The transaction value is approximately € 3.1 billion.
For 2005, the adidas Group expects high-single-digit currency-neutral revenue growth. The Group’s net income is projected to grow at least 20%. On March 2, 2006, the 2005 full-year results will be published.
2006 - The FIFA World Cup 2006™ in Germany is just around the corner. Herbert Hainer expects sales in the football category to rise to more than € 1 billion. adidas will use the world’s biggest sporting event to expand its global football market leadership and to dominate in the host country before, during and after the World Cup. adidas holds the rights as Official Partner, Supplier and Licensee for the FIFA World Cup™ in 2006, 2010 and 2014. In addition, adidas has partnerships with football federations such as Germany, the host of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, South Africa, the host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, European Champions Greece, Asian Champions Japan, Olympic Champions Argentina, China, Denmark, France, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago and Spain.
On January 31, 2006, adidas-Salomon AG announces that it has closed its acquisition of Reebok International Ltd. providing the new adidas Group with a footprint of around €9.5 billion ($11.8 billion) in the global athletic footwear, apparel and hardware markets.
"We are delighted with the closing of the Reebok transaction, which marks a new chapter in the history of our Group," said adidas-Salomon AG Chairman and CEO Herbert Hainer. "By combining two of the most respected and well-known brands in the worldwide sporting goods industry, the new Group will benefit from a more competitive worldwide platform, well-defined and complementary brand identities, a wider range of products, and a stronger presence across teams, athletes, events and leagues."
The change of the name to adidas AG is approved at the Annual General Meeting in May.