WWDFAST: Five Golden Rings

The 2008 Summer Games in Beijing are mere months away, and the branding games have begun.

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With a basketball in her hand and her foot supported by fellow countrymen, China’s stunning basketball star Sui Feifei leaps into the spotlight of Adidas’ ads for the Beijing Olympic Games. The campaign is the brand’s largest ever created for a single market.

As the countdown continues for the Olympics, now only eight months away, activewear brands around the globe are already warming up for what observers say will be the biggest marketing platform to date—not to mention the most profitable in the event’s history.

Already, the Games are expected to turn a profit of between $20 million and $30 million, according to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. It stated that revenues from broadcasting rights, sponsors’ merchandise and ticket sales will exceed the anticipated costs of $2.4 billion to host the Games.

Meanwhile, mega ad campaigns, colossal retail rollouts and product launches are breaking record speeds in the race to target the young demographic worldwide and to propel activewear behemoths’ businesses in China, which is expected to be the largest sporting goods market anywhere by 2010.

Nike and Adidas have been getting ready for the Games by opening stores across the land. Nike unveiled a sprawling, 13,000-square-foot flagship in Beijing last August. The company already has around 3,000 doors in more than 300 Chinese cities and is sponsoring athletes from 22 of 28 international federations.

Adidas, the official sportswear sponsor of the Games, will open its biggest flagship in the world in Beijing in time for the opening ceremony in August. The store will exceed the surface of its 19,000-square-foot Champs-Elysées flagship in Paris. The company, whose sales in China doubled in the last 18 months, said China will be its second-largest market after the U.S., with more than 1 billion euros, or $1.46 billion at current exchange, in revenue by 2010. Today, Adidas and its Reebok brand boast around 4,000 stores in China, a figure the group expects to increase to 7,000 by the end of the decade.

“Adidas believes that Olympic success means more than winning medals, and that the Olympic spirit is not just for the athletes,” says Wolfgang Bentheimer, managing director of Adidas Greater China. “The passion that all Chinese are feeling about the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will make China a true sports nation, and Adidas will play an active role in this development.”
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