HERZOGENAURACH, Germany (Reuters) - German sportswear maker Adidas (ADSGn.DE) expects sales from its football division to break the 2 billion euro (1.7 billion pounds) barrier for the first time in 2014, when the World Cup is played in Brazil, the company said on Tuesday.
Adidas is a sponsor of the World Cup and will supply match balls, kit for referees and volunteers in Brazil. Sales from its football business were more than 1.7 billion euros in 2012, company officials said.
Adidas remains the market leader in football but U.S. sportswear group Nike (NKE.N) is a close competitor and the World Cup next year is shaping up as a struggle for supremacy between the two rivals.
Nike sponsors the host nation Brazil, the five-times world champions and one of the most popular national teams around the globe.
“The FIFA World Cup is the perfect stage to showcase our company, our brands and our products,” Adidas Chief Executive Herbert Hainer told reporters at the company’s headquarters in southern Germany.
Adidas said it planned to roll out a series of new football products from the second half of this year, leading up to the World Cup kick off next June.
Brazil is currently hosting the eight-team Confederations Cup, a dry run for the World Cup.
Adidas said it expected “double-digit sales growth” in Latin America in the years to come, boosted by the interest generated by the World Cup.
Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Anthony Barker