Nike and Adidas face off at FIFA World Cup

The World Cup isn’t just a competition between countries. It’s also a battle between brands.

Adidas is the reigning champ when it comes to soccer. And Nike has been going after the German outfitter on its own turf — the World Cup.

Nike sponsored six teams in 1998 and now it has 10 in 2018. Adidas still has an edge though. In 2018, Adidas is representing 12 teams and the last two teams that won the World Cup — Germany and Spain.

So why is Nike — the basketball powerhouse — going after soccer? It’s simple numbers. Almost half of the world’s population watched the World Cup in 2014, and the sport is booming in the U.S. So while tensions between countries may be high on the pitch, the battle of the brands is its own high-stakes affair.

Neither Nike nor Adidas returned requests for comment from CNBC.

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