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The 2010 World Cup is fast approaching with South Africa being less than a year away from kick off now and the quest from the major sports brand to produce the best selling football shirts at the tournament has already begun. More and more football kit brands are coming on the scene but there are still 3 names that dominate over most other Adidas, Nike and Puma.
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany Puma were the best represented company with 11 countries wearing their jerseys in comparison Nikes 8 and Adidass 6. Obviously it is very much dependent on which international teams qualify as to who will be best represented but this is a surprising result with Adidas and Nike regarded as being the top football kit suppliers.
Since the 2006 World Cup finals, there have been a number of transfers in the football kit world. The Russian national team football shirts are now manufactured by Adidas, having stolen them from Nike. Similarly, the Mexican jerseys traditionally one of Nikes strongest selling strips has been snapped up by Adidas. The German sports brand have also stolen a mach on Puma by acquiring the sponsorship of the Paraguayan national team.
A major advantage that Puma have over their rivals is their strong relationship with the African countries. At the 2006 World Cup Puma manufactured shirts for 4 out of the 5 African countries that qualified, Tunisia, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo, and look set to continue their strong relationship with Africa, having secured kit sponsorship of the African Nations Cup winners Egypt as well as Cameroon and Senegal, both of whom have made a major impact at World Cup Finals in the last 10 years.
The final kit manufacturers for the 2010 World Cup have yet to be decided by a lot of countries as they will be bringing out a new football shirt for the tournament so a combination of that and the uncertainty over exactly who will qualify means we cant predict the dominant brand for next year quite yet.
The top team that Puma produce their shirts for is Italy and they will be hoping that they can reproduce the success they achieved in 2006 with another World Cup win. The win in 2006 was Italy's 4th time of winning the tournament.
Although Puma dominated the number of teams at the last World Cup, Adidas were the only one of the top brands to have a presence at every game as they were official sponsors of the tournament and provided the World Cup ball.
They also represented hosts Germany who were the only team who refused to let their players wear boots from a different manufacturer so were Adidas head to toe.
The race for dominance has certainly begun as we start to prepare for the final round of qualifying for the World Cup finals which will determine which brands football kits are the most seen and most purchased at next years World Cup finals.
One key factor that determines how popular the football shirts sales are is the style of shirt printing. For each major tournament, the brands launch a new style of printing which they will use for the next two years. Coming up with a unique, original style can make a huge difference to the volume of sales a jersey makes, particularly when a country has a star player like Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. Over the years, we have had some unique attempts such as Nikes front circle at Euro 2004, Puma's lower case prints at the 2006 World Cup and Adidas famous three stripe football shirt name and number lettering. It remains to be seen which will be the cool style in 2010.