What's the history behind Adidas? A global brand name, which has gone on to employ over 42,540 people worldwide. This organisation began in Germany in 1924 and was founded by Adolf Dassler, which is where the company got its name Adidas.
Since those early humble years, the company has gone on to become the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest in the world. With last years profits of £567million and the companies total assets rising to £10,638 billion.
But it Adidas still that pure and humble company, just wanting to produce the best. Or has it gone on to be a force within the market, stopping at nothing to become such a worldwide name?
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Adidas spent over £70 million in sponsorship. This figure caused outrage in the sporting industry that this one company should be allowed to input such a high level of investment. There sales increased significantly like they do in most worldwide events they sponsor.
There sponsorship within the 1996 Olympics has still proved to see one of their best returns to date. With 6,000 athletes seen with that famous 'three stripes' logo over the duration of the games. 220 medals with Adidas kit being worn, as well as 70 of those medals taking centre stage display on he podium by placing gold in that competition. This incredible victory saw sales for the company increase by an astonishing 50%.
Just like most Olympic years, the friction between Adidas and its main rival Nike is heating up for the start of London 2012. Tensions are high as Adidas are an 'Official Olympic sponsor' for the games on behalf of the British Olympic Association. Therefore they have negotiated on their contract that all winners on the podium will wear the official London 2012 kit, which is emblazoned with the Adidas name and logo.
This is despite individual’s athlete’s sponsorship deals from companies such as Puma and more vocally Nike. Who should the athlete represent, their sponsor or the team’s sponsor? This question is causing a lot of debate between athletes, their sponsors and the British Olympic Association. What is being questioned is the fairness that athletes have to make the choice to either break their contracts and wear the Team GB kit, or stand by their morals and support their individual private sponsor. Nike is now arguing that competitors should wear their private sponsors shoes on the podium and the rest of the Team GB kit to go with it, therefore striking an agreement. However Adidas has put millions into securing this deal from the BOA and so feels they should get monopoly on what the athletes should wear.
With only a few weeks left before the games, does London really want this added controversy?
On top of this, new reports have also emerged on the conditions of employees by Adidas in third world countries such as India. Although they claim that these factories do not produce the official London 2012 kit, it has not been confirmed whether they produce other Adidas clothing endorsed by their sponsored athletes. It was reported that staff got paid as little as 74 pence a day, which when you compare to million pound profits seems extremely tightfisted for the company wanting to be the best in the world.
Former cabinet minister, Tessa Jowell, is backing an investigation named the “War on Want”. It was unveiled that some staff in Bangledesh got paid as small a wage as 9 pence an hour and underwent abuse, both physical and mental during working hours. They also had to work compulsory overtime and many staff were beaten if they refused. These actions strongly contradict Bangladeshi labor laws and investigations are now taking place in some factories.