The DFB Just Did It

In a surprising move, the German football federation announced that it would be partnering with Nike beginning in 2027, ending an iconic 70-year run with adidas.

After over 70 incredible years together at the top of the sport, adidas and the German Football Federation officially parted ways last week. The DFB has made the switch to Nike in an eye-watering $108 million deal that will begin in 2027.

While a nation switching technical partners is a pretty common occurrence, those who have an understanding of football history will know that this particular change is a massive one. The German national team has worn the iconic Three Stripes for every World Cup victory and European triumph in its glittering history, on both the men’s and women’s sides.

germany 1990

Every iconic photo, kit, and moment came under the adidas partnership for Germany. Couple this with the fact that adidas is a German company, and you can probably guess that this news didn’t exactly go down well.

A DFB official post on X stated that this was, in its view, a decision made purely with the best commercial intentions in mind.

“The DFB has to make economic decisions against this background,” the statement read. “Nike made by far the best financial offer in the transparent and non-discriminatory tender process.”

Germany’s contract with Nike was signed through 2034, and is set to help alleviate the financial issues the national team has faced in recent years due to a myriad of reasons, perhaps the biggest being its underperformance at major tournaments.

You can understand the drastic decision that the DFB made, but while this will come as a massive boost for its bank account, it’s a monumental loss for adidas. Besides their shared nationalities, adidas and Germany have been an institution together. Some of the most memorable kits in football history have been adidas-Germany ones.

germany 1994 kit

Of course there’s the 1990 West Germany home, but you also have the 1994 World Cup home and away shirts, and more recently, the 2023 away shirt for the Women’s World Cup.

This loss is also coming off the heels of another massive blow to adidas’ brand — its high profile split with mega-star Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. The end of the massively popular Yeezy line of shoes and apparel has contributed to the Three Stripes’ recent struggles, and with this even bigger hit, we’ll have to wait and see just how the brand moves forward in the space.

If you take a step back, while this decision makes all the sense in the world from a commercial and business standpoint for Germany, it feels like yet another decision void of soul and social conscience.

The reactions were telling. Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck said, “I was hoping for a bit more local patriotism,” and “For me, adidas and black-red-gold always belonged together, it is a piece of German identity.”


He wasn’t the only politician to chime in though. German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on his X account that it’s a wrong decision where a tradition and a piece of home was destroyed by commerce.

The DFB is adidas, and vice versa. So this makes the decision to split, in the same year Germany will be hosting the European Championship in adidas facilities, gear, and sponsors wherever you look, even more shocking.

It’s going to be a weird sight to see the iconic red, gold, and black in a Swoosh rather than Stripes, but we’ll just have to get used to it.

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