Excuse me, officer, I’d like to report a robbery. This past week, the unthinkable happened. The German national football team, which has been sponsored by Adidas for 77 years, will be wearing the Nike Swoosh on its uniforms come 2027. Nike took Germany from Adidas, signing the team to a massive endorsement deal.

This might be the biggest betrayal in the sportswear industry ever. Germany leaving Adidas is like if Michael Jordan just now ended his Nike partnership and signed with Adidas. Or if the University of Oregon left Nike for the Three Stripes. It’s not something you’d ever expect to happen. And if it did, the public would think that at best there was a falling out between the two entities, and at worst that something nefarious took place.

Before we get into the history, and what this all means, let’s break down the facts. According to a report last week from Optus Sport, a publication out of Austria, Nike is paying 100 million euros for the contract, which is double the 50 million euros Adidas was paying. 

“We understand every emotion,” said the DFB, the German association that runs the national team, in a statement on X. “It is also a drastic event for us as an association when it becomes clear that a partnership that was and is characterized by many special moments is coming to an end after more than 70 years. That doesn’t leave us cold.”

The DFB went on to say that going with Nike over Adidas wasn’t just a decision to line the pockets of the national team, but to help the overall state of football in the country. The DFB doesn’t just look over the national team, but football through all the ranks of Germany, from youth development up. 

“The DFB has a unique selling point: It is a sports association that finances its member associations and the amateur base and is not financed by them,” the association said. “It puts the money into football. So that football remains a popular sport. Against this background, the DFB has to make economic decisions. Nike made by far the best financial offer in the transparent and non-discriminatory tender process.”

So how is the news of the German coup going over at the respective brands? At Adidas, the news came in a more somber tone. The brand’s CEO, Bjorn Gulden, a former footballer himself, seemed to be taking it in stride. He did make a social media post on March 21, the day the news broke, where he called it a mixed day and tagged Adidas Football in his Instagram story—not a clear reference to Adidas losing Germany, but definitely a reflection of how he felt that day. In a more straightforward statement, he posted on Instagram while wearing a German football top, writing: “Good luck today Germany! Regardless what happens in 2027… we are 100% behind the team! We are fans and you are family! You will have a fantastic time at Homeground during the Euro and we will be a fantastic host for you!”

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