Adidas' Pyramid Of Football Kit Sponsorship - A Teams, B Teams, Standard, Third Party & Not Affiliated

In September 2020, we gave you an overview of the different level of Nike's football team sponsorship deals. It was quite well received by you, our readers. So we decided to also take a look at the Adidas "Pyramid Of Football Kit Sponsorship", revealing that there are some differences to Nike, and those differences are not only the sponsored teams.

Adidas Levels Of Football Sponsorship

Similar to Nike, Adidas has four levels of football team partnerships - A Teams, B Teams, Standard & Third-Party. Interestingly, Adidas' second-tier clubs are internally called 'B Teams', while there is no "official" name for top teams - we call them 'A teams / Premium Teams' here.

Adidas just has five 'Elite Clubs'

As it is the case with Nike and all other brands, there is also a fifth level, of which Adidas is not responsible - clubs that buy their shirts themselves.

the transition between the different levels is quite fluid for Adidas

It is important to note that the transition between the different levels is quite fluid (for all except the first tier) - for our listing, we used information from Adidas' catalogs, the brand's stores, press releases as well as some internal info.

Adidas' Pyramid Of Teams - A Teams, B Teams, Standard & Third-Party

A Teams - 5 Clubs

Adidas A Teams are on the brand's highest level. Adidas just has five 'A Clubs' - Arsenal, Bayern, Juventus, Man Utd, and Real Madrid.

Flamengo is not A Team in 2020 - they did not get a special Humanrace jersey, and they are also called 'B Team' in Adidas' catalog.

Adidas A Teams:

Arsenal, Bayern, Juventus, Man Utd, and Real Madrid

B Teams - Around 10 Clubs - (e.g. Flamengo, Ajax, Bordeaux):

B Teams are on the second level of Adidas' pyramid. B Teams get custom kit designs as well as a range of other bespoke products that are also available in various countries and many of the brand's official stores.

Leicester City could soon be an Adidas B Team

Leicester City is on the verge of becoming an Adidas B Team, Union Berlin as well.

Adidas B Teams (Examples): Ajax,Besiktas, Fenerbahce, Flamengo, Hamburg, Lyon, Orlando Pirates, River Plate

Standard Teams - Dozens Of Clubs - (e.g. Wolves, Cardiff City, Melbourne Victory)

Standard teams have a direct contract with Adidas but are not in the official catalogs of the brand. Their kits are also only sold domestically most times.

Adidas Standard Teams (Examples): Cardiff City, Fulham, Melbourne Victory, Sheffield United, Wolves

Third Party - Many, Many Clubs:

Third Party teams have no direct contract with Adidas but with a third-party, who manage contracts for Adidas in those countries.

Adidas manages most of their deals directly

In contrast to Nike, Adidas used to prefer to sign and manage all their deals directly. Therefore, the Three Stripes do not have many big third-party deals. This just changed recently with their latest German kit deals, which will be not managed by Adidas directly.

Adidas Third Party Teams (Examples): Nürnberg, Düsseldorf, Unterhaching, small lower-division clubs & hundreds of semi-professional / amateur teams

Non-Affiliated Adidas Teams - Thousands of Clubs:

Teams who buy their shirt themselves and choose - possibly more than hundred thousand worldwide.

MLS Teams

Major League Soccer teams are a special category for Adidas. They all get a custom kit, while those teams with more fans get some more gear. The shirts of the most popular MLS teams are sold globally (e.g. LA Galaxy, Los Angeles FC).

National Teams

Adidas does also have Premium and Standard national teams - the exact border between them is not easy to define...

Elite National Teams (Examples): Germany, Spain, Argentina

Standard National Teams (Examples): Belgium, Sweden, Russia, Colombia

What do you think of Adidas' line-up of football teams? Should they make more clubs 'Elite Teams', similar to Adidas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.