The 2026 World Cup is an 'open goal for Adidas' that'll help close its gap with Nike

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Screen Shot 2018 07 11 at 1.42.24 PMReuters/Al ProjectFootball - Argentina v Croatia - International Friendly - Upton Park, London, England - 12/11/14 General view adidas match ball and Argentina's Lionel Messi legs / boots

  • Adidas isn't quite as prolific as Nike in the total global sportswear market.
  • The 2026 World Cup will be hosted in the US, Mexico, and Canada, and that could be a big boost to Adidas, who is number one in the soccer category.
  • The US soccer sportswear market will likely see a big boost because of the 2026 World Cup, according to Macquarie analyst Andreas Inderst.
  • Watch Adidas trade in real time here.

Adidas trails Nike by a mile in global market share when it comes to sports apparel, but a new development could help narrow the gap. The World Cup will be held in the US in 2026, and that could play right into Adidas' hands.

The 2026 World Cup "has significant strategic value and is an open goal for Adidas" to further boost its already superior soccer apparel sales, Macquarie analyst Andreas Inderst wrote in a note out to clients on Wednesday. While Inderst did not say the event will enable Adidas to catch Nike in global sportswear market share, he stressed it will help the German apparel maker close the gap.

Screen Shot 2018 07 11 at 11.49.44 AMEuromonitor

But Adidas is number one globally in the niche category of "football," or soccer apparel, capturing 29% of the market's share. Nike is number two, with 26%, according to Inderst.

Screen Shot 2018 07 11 at 12.31.36 PMMacquarie

FIFA's said in its FIFA 2.0 report that its goal is to "develop and promote the game of football worldwide, at every level." And that's good news for Adidas - and the soccer apparel market as a whole - because soccer is not a favorite American sport.

"As the US is a lot about other team sports than football, this has been a key disadvantage to Adidas in contrast to football frenzied Europe and Latin America," Inderst said, estimating that the US soccer sportswear market is just 2% of the total sportswear market, compared to roughly 9% in Western Europe.

The US hosting the World Cup will spur "a likely surge of the football market," Inderst added. "The catch-up potential for the football industry is significant in our view given football is behind many other sports in the US."

Inderst has a 12 month $240 price target, roughly 37% above its current level.

Adidas is up 9.16% this year.

Screen Shot 2018 07 11 at 12.46.09 PMMarkets Insider

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