Adidas will end its sponsorship of the US National Basketball Association (NBA) after deciding not to renew its multi-million dollar decade-long deal with the sports league.
It’s a big retreat from the US market for the German sportswear giant which is facing increasingly tough competition from rivals Nike and Under Armour.
"We feel with a different investment strategy, we will be more successful," an Adidas spokeswoman told Reuters, "We want to put a bigger focus on players in our shoes."
Adidas took over the prestigious contract in 2006 when it bought sportswear brand Reebok, which was then the official apparel and footwear brand of the NBA.
At the time of the deal, Adidas chief Erich Stamminger said the NBA was on the firm's “wish list”. "In soccer, we have FIFA and UEFA. In baseball, we have the New York Yankees. And in rugby, we have the All-Blacks. Given that our mission statement is to become the leading sports brand in the world, this alliance was at the top of our list,” the now departed boss said.
That deal will now come to an end during the 2016/17 season and the NBA will search for a new sponsor.
Under Armour recently overtook Adidas to become the second largest sportswear brand in the US behind Nike. In 2014, the German firm's sales fell four per cent in North America while they grew 13 per cent in Western Europe.
Adidas last year increased its presence in the UK after agreeing a £750m mega-deal to become Manchester United’s kit sponsor for the next 10 years, usurping Nike along the way.