The French national soccer team will end its long-time sponsorship deal with adidas in 2011 in favor of a $506 million contract with Nike. The French Soccer Federation said Nike outbid adidas and French company Airness, promising to pay $63.4 million a year until the end of the 2017-2018 season. Adidas has sponsored the national team, called Les Bleus, since 1972.
Nike has vowed to become soccers top brand by the next world cup. Nike recently acquired Englands Umbro PLC for $566 million in a deal expected to be approved next month. Umbro supplies uniforms to the national teams of England, Ireland, Sweden and Norway, six English Premier League teams and more than 100 other professional teams globally. Nike itself makes uniforms for Arsenal and Manchester United of England's Premier League.
Adidas outfits soccer clubs from England's Liverpool to the Los Angeles Galaxy. They replaced Umbro as uniform supplier to Premier League club Chelsea in 2006 and are set to take over this year from Admiral as sponsor to England's national cricket team.