For the past three days, the World Cup has been on hiatus, as the eight remaining teams limber up for the semi-final stage, which starts today. The buzz, however, continues, with Adidas, according to a survey* by NM Incite, taking the top spot from Nike, which had the top spot three weeks ago, despite its German rival being an official sponsor for the tournament. Adidas now has just over a quarter of the online chatter, up from 14.4% to 25.1%, while Nike is down by 9.8% to just 19.4%.
Now then, Nike's fall from grace may have something to do with the fact that just nine of the teams that started wore its kit, compared to Adidas' 12. And, that out of all of Nike's star faces from its Write The Future campaign, not one has made it to the last eight. Compare the two rivals' Facebook pages, and Nike Football scores almost 200,000 more friends than Adidas Football's 1 million. Adidas fans, however, are a lot more vociferous than the U.S. firm's, and each time Adidas posts something on its wall it garners at least 500 comments.
Social media aside, credit for Adidas' success must surely go to the Jabulani ball, which has been the focus of many a losing team's ire over the course of the three-week-old finals. Jabulani, however, has been overshadowed this week by the furore over the role of technology in South Africa, which has forced FIFA to rethink its previously hardline stance on bringing cameras and sensors to the goal line.
The organization, which decided to suspend instant video replays, following Carlos Tevez's offside goal against Mexico earlier this week, may find that it will have to rethink that decision as well, after almost two-thirds of people polled in a survey thought they should be reintroduced.
Despite Nike's innovative use of technology, it is Adidas that seems to have all the best football-related ideas. The firm's Teamgeist 2 smart ball, although not as fun as this one, was used in the FIFA Club World Cup back in 2007. It was developed alongside tech firm Cairos over a four-year period, but FIFA inexplicably said no to it for World Cup use.
Will Nike be stung into sending out a presser, rather like Adidas did, to argue that, no, it's still the most talked-about sports gear manufacturer in the world? Well, with rival surveys* like this, it probably will—although it would probably prefer to draw a veil over Hyundai's high showing.
*Some World Cup surveys, it seems, are more amusing than others.