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It’s gotta be the…kits? National team switches to Nike, finds success

Anyone watching the Asian Cup has seen something different about China, no, it’s not that they are winning for once, it’s the swoosh on their kits. After 30 years suiting up in Adidas, the Chinese Football Association reached an agreement with Nike shortly before the start of 2015 that sees the national team as well as the women and youth sides being kitted out by the American giants.

Rumors of a deal with Nike had gone around for awhile, but the CFA made the deal public in December. The agreement, a 10 year deal reportedly worth US$16 million a year, is one more step by Nike to top their German rivals. Nike already dominates the domestic football league, halfway through a 10 year agreement that sees them kit out every CSL side.

As is common with the CFA, the arrangement wasn’t without issue, as Nike had a very short amount of time between the agreement being reached and the start of the Asian Cup last week. It appears that the Nike agreement is somewhat looser than the previous Adidas agreements (which required all gear, including players’ shoes and the keeper’s gloves to be made by Adidas) as a few players are still wearing Adidas boots.

Nike’s move shows that the trend of major sponsors openly willing to spend money on football in China is bound to continue in the new year. Despite the rush to get the kits out (and the away version being nearly identical to an old Hong Kong kit), if China’s success continues, it will become an instant classic among fans.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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