With June’s World Cup approaching quickly, the major uniform manufacturers are beginning to empty their brain trusts of their final jersey designs for each represented nation.
adidas unveiled its home uniforms for their big five countries–Argentina, Germany, Spain, Mexico and Russia–back in the fall, but now the company has dropped those nations’ away kits as well. While the home numbers didn’t stray far from previous jersey iterations*, adidas had a little bit more fun designing the second shirts.
Argentina and Germany both employ blocky, horizontal stripes; Spain finds a neon green screeching across its kit’s front; Russia’s features a gorgeous blue half-circle to mimic the sight cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin saw when he orbited the earth in 1961; and Mexico’s jersey slightly resembles My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless album cover**. All of them have been made with adizero technology, which provides players a better fit and a jersey that’s 40 percent lighter than previous kits.
If all of this frequent releasing seems tiring–because why not release the home and away kits at the same time–then consider a December story from Bloomberg Businessweek. While many American leagues attach themselves to a singular brand for all of its teams (the NFL has Nike, Major League Soccer reps adidas), World Cup participants and national teams sport a wide variety of brands. Quoting the aforementioned article: “… (T)he World Cup, like the Olympics, is a rare competition that isn’t locked up by a single sportswear company, making it a tournament to determine which corporate marketing team has most effectively deployed its sponsorship dollars.”
The field this year has teams with uniforms from Nike and adidas to Puma (Italy, Uruguay) and Marathon (Ecuador), and adidas and Nike are trying to own the field. adidas sponsors the event, but attaching its name to several prominent squads and spreading kit releases over the year leading up to the event guarantees the brand is constantly on the minds of consumers, even if a fan’s particular team is wearing Nike or Puma. And when you consider a graph like the one included in the story that aligns countries’ GDP with their shirts’ brands, then making sure that national team’s sponsors are front and center becomes paramount.
Click through to see full images of the adidas uniforms. The 2014 World Cup kicks off on June 12 when host country Brazil takes on Croatia. Fans can preorder these new away kits now here.
* — Except Mexico’s, which, holy hell, are not the best-looking things on the market.
** — For the record, that’s not adidas’ inspiration behind the kit.