Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Jun 7, 2019
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Adidas develops initiatives to get girls into sport

Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Jun 7, 2019

Sports are big in France this June: France is hosting the Women's Football World Cup from June 7 to July 5 and interest in the event has peaked to a new level.

However, sports are often male-dominated at the higher level and women represent only 36 percent of French sports professionals and 37 percent of licencees in sports federations, according to a report by the Ministry of Sports in 2015. This is due to the challenges of the sporting profession as well as complexities in access to sport.

Adidas’ new video

With this state of affairs, Adidas has just announced the launch of the programme “She Breaks Barriers”. The German brand has launched a series of operations which include the sponsorship of several sports players such as the boxer Estelle Yoka Mossely; handball player Allison Pineau, and Judo practitioner Audrey Tcheumeo.

Adidas’ approach to the programme is both positive and optimistic, which is also in line with the brand’s overall global vision for attracting women, who represent one of the key growth drivers for the sports market in the years to come.

As well as sponsoring sportswomen, Adidas aims to become the label which which youths experience sport for the first time. This is an essential element of the activation component of the brand’s strategy and will include events. The two other pillars of the brand’s strategy comprise creating products that are truly tailored to women for use in practical sports and a more tailored in-store experience which will include merchandising and services such as advice on choosing a bra. It is with this aim that Adidas has launched the “She Breaks Barriers” project in a range of cities around the world. 

How is the brand putting this into practice? One objective is to boost sports uptake in the Parisian region noting that 42.4 percent of women within the city practice a sport but only 27.4 percent do in the suburbs. To encourage girls to get into sport, the brand has set out three main targets: one being infrastructure where the brand is among other things organising five time-slots for female football teams; one is education where the brand is supporting organisations financially with human capital and equipment donations; and finally the last is by boosting practice with the National Union of School Sports by training sports teachers for games such as Double Dutch, hip hop dance, and Rugby 7.

The brand is also working with amateur athletes to make the industry more accessible, something that Adidas has found works for it. The brand created Adidas Runners Paris in the French capital to develop its credibility amongst runners. The concept is a competition for running teams form different neighbourhoods including all different levels of runners and many beginners wearing all different brands. The idea came to fruition at the start of the decade and has allowed Adidas to gain visibility amongst runners as well as create a personal bond with them.

By turning its attention to future sports practitioners, the brand also hopes to create this type of relationship with the next generation. The market for women’s sportswear is valued at over €3 billion by the Union of Sport and Cycling. The organisation noted in its 2017 report that, between 2012 and 2017, sales of women’s sports footwear increased by 65 percent and sports fabrics saw.  Eight percent growth during the period. 

Even if 2018 saw a slight slowdown in growth, there are still many opportunities in the field. The Union of Sport and Cycling estimates that around 14.5 million French women already practice a sport regularly and 6 million who would be willing to start or get back into a sporting activity. Amongst this demographic, Adidas will surely convince more than one to embark on the journey. 

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