Kanye West’s antisemitic rants have cost adidas dearly in popularity (and monetarily) as fans of his are upset that the company cut ties with the MAGA rapper. On the flip side, others felt they took too long to do so and won’t support anything with three stripes on it.
Looking to recapture the momentum they once held not too long ago, adidas is now focusing on sports stars to help their floundering relevancy out in these streets, as their partnerships with culture stars such as Bad Bunny, Beyoncé and Jenna Ortega really hasn’t done for them what Kanye West did in their heyday. According to the Wall Street Journal, adidas plans on having the company put all their eggs in the sports world basket and turn to basketball and soccer stars, as those are two of the most popular sports in the world.
“We want to double down on all of the things that are U.S.-centric, particularly around sport,” Rupert Campbell, the company’s North America president, said in an interview.
The German sportswear brand said it has recently spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a newly opened facility in Los Angeles, where it will base its basketball product team, and on upgrades to its main U.S. hub in Portland, Ore. The company also plans to open more U.S. stores and forge new partnerships with athletes and has recently renewed a longtime partnership with Major League Soccer.
Interestingly enough, adidas sportswear and equipment sales grew over the last year while their fashion sales took a hit. Seeing the writing on the wall, the three-stripe brand decided to just go all in on the sportswear side of things and leave the celebrity fashion show alone for the time being. After dealing with the Kanye debacle and seeing Beyoncé’s Ivy Park collections flop to the tune of $200 million, adidas may be cool to the idea of anymore celebrity clothing lines for a minute.
A sportswear brand refocusing on the sports world is probably the safest bet for them at this point especially with the backlash that they got for the Kanye West controversy. While they’ll be looking to make their mark on basketball, soccer and football, it seems like they’re willing to let the NHL fall by the waistline.
More from WSJ:
However, Adidas isn’t expanding in all sports. The company will end its deal with the National Hockey League in 2024 after seven years as its jersey partner. U.S. online sports retailer Fanatics Inc. is taking over on a 10-year deal. Adidas declined to elaborate on the reasons for its split with the NHL.
If Adidas has underperformed in the U.S. in the past, now is the time for the company to perform in the world’s biggest sporting-goods market, said Mr. Campbell. “We have to show our credentials in this space,” he said.
We doubt anyone will be hurting over that decision. No shots.
What do y’all think of adidas ditching the celebrity game for the sports game? Let us know in the comments section below.