Rachit Vats

Whose Sachin is he anyway? Nike’s or Adidas’?

Adidas is upset with Nike for using its brand ambassador for its merchandise. The case is now with MRTPC. Meanwhile, Nike seems totally unperturbed

Sachin is a bone of contention among selectors and fans, but now, even the big brands are locking horns over the Little Master. Tendulkar has been Adidas’ brand ambassador since 1997. But Nike sponsors the Indian cricket team’s official uniform. As a result, the two companies are jousting with each other for the right to use Tendulkar for their respective merchandise.

Adidas has petitioned the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) over the use of Tendulkar’s images by Nike in its cricket range. Subsequent to the petition, Adidas issued a press statement saying it possesses exclusive rights to use Tendulkar’s name as well as his personal details.

As per an Adidas communiqué, MRTPC has issued notices to Nike India, BCCI, Tendulkar and his business managing firm, Iconix, asking them to file replies within three weeks. It has also asked Adidas to file a rejoinder within two weeks from the receipt of replies.

Whose Sachin is he anyway? Nike’s or Adidas’?
Apple of discord
Adidas claims that Nike was violating its exclusive personal endorsement agreement with Tendulkar by using his name for promoting its products. It also argues that BCCI granted Nike only sponsorship and licensing rights and to carry trademarks of the batsman only while playing for the country, or participating in BCCI events. But as Tendulkar was ousted from the one-day matches in the Bangladesh series, Adidas claims that he should no longer be seen sporting Nike merchandise. However, sources say that this clause was breached.

Nike is playing it cool. Sanjay Gangopadhyay, marketing director, Nike India, says, “Nike has not been served with an official notice from MRTPC in this matter. We are therefore not in a position to make any comments at this point. However, Nike believes its actions have been consistent with the rights granted by BCCI.”

Nike had won the five-year sponsorship rights for the Indian cricket team in 2005, outbidding Reebok and Adidas. Looks like Nike has also hijacked the perception that Sachin Tendulkar is associated with its brand.

The rivalry between Nike and Adidas is not new. Even globally, similar issues have kept cropping up, especially during major events such as the World Cups. The end result is always beneficial to both parties because more consumers end up knowing more about the brands because of the attention they get.

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