BERLIN (Reuters) - Adidas expects a big increase in sales of soccer jerseys from the 2018 World Cup in Russia helped by its sponsorship of three of the top teams, the German sportswear maker's chief executive was quoted as saying on Saturday.
"In football, we are the clear market leader worldwide and are sponsoring 11 teams at the World Cup next year," Kasper Rorsted told the Rheinische Post newspaper in an interview.
"Overall, I expect a big increase in Adidas jersey sales in 2018 because of the World Cup. I hope that our teams go as far as possible. After all, we are kitting out three of the favorites with Germany, Spain and Argentina."
Adidas is the official sponsor of the World Cup and has long been the top supplier of soccer shirts, shoes and balls.
But at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, arch rival Nike sponsored more teams for the first time, including the hosts, and signed more of the most marketable players.
Adidas has since enjoyed a big comeback, taking market share from Nike in the United States, and revamping its soccer business. It is back in the lead with the most teams sponsored at the World Cup, including hosts Russia.
Nike's top teams at the World Cup include France and Brazil, which is joint favorite with Germany to win, while sportswear firm Puma has only two sides in the tournament - Uruguay and Switzerland, down from eight in 2014.
Rorsted said Adidas should not focus too much on Nike.
"This is not a tennis match with two players, where only one can be victorious. We are focusing on our own business and always improving. It makes no sense to declare our main goal as beating Nike," he said.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Jason Neely)