National News

The biggest match in the World Cup: Nike vs. Adidas

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:45

The World Cup starts this Thursday, but a match of a different sort is already well under way: the sales competition between Nike and Adidas. 

The two companies go at it year after year, but the World Cup is a rare opportunity to market products to the entire world.

In Portland, Oregon, the walls of Tursi Soccer Store are lined with shoes.

“So Nike and Adidas comes here and does this," says Jim Tursi, pointing to the walls of his store. "They come in and actually put all the displays up. We give them half the store each and they get to do what they want with it.”

The store's displays looks like something out of a modern art museum, the lighting just perfect, holding soccer cleats in a sort of suspended animation. One display has a few shoes behind glass and gives off the faint sound of a club beat.

Spring and summer are always busy, Tursi says, but this year’s business is up 30 percent. Not only that, but Nike and Adidas launched a slew of new jerseys, shoes and soccer balls all leading up the start of the World Cup.

“Nike and Adidas has such a hand in everything now. They fight tooth and nail with each other," Tursi says. "It’s very competitive.”

Nike’s soccer business brought in nearly $2 billion in 2013. Adidas didn’t release its figures for 2013, but expects to sell more than $2.7 billion worth of soccer gear this year.

Courtney Brunious, associate director at the University of Southern California's Sports Business Institute, says the World Cup is the perfect place for this turf war.

“It almost stands alone in terms of the ability for brands and sponsors to get out there and reach such a wide group of potential customers,” Brunious says.

But here’s the interesting thing: Adidas has been in the soccer business since 1949. Nike? Only about two decades.

“They’ve since maybe even pulled even, or only slightly behind, Adidas in soccer,” says Paul Swinand, an analyst with Morningstar.

In 2008, Nike purchased Umbro and sold it just a few years later, but not before gutting the company of several multi-million dollar sponsorship deals.

“The sponsorships are really key in the global sales dominance,” Swinand says.

With this move, Nike was able to put its logo on the jerseys of teams like Manchester City and England’s national team, which Swinand argues gave Nike a boost to compete.

“Adidas is very sensitive to somebody encroaching on their brand heritage," he says. "They’ve pushed very hard to maintain the lead.”

But that sales lead for Adidas -- if there is one at all -- may not be forever.

Tursi says for the 18 year-olds and under, Nike dominates his soccer shoe business.

He says Nike is holding off on one final shoe that comes out the first day of the tournament -- the new Superfly.

“We can’t show it get because we’re not allowed to, because it’s all top secret as they do things,” he says.

But that doesn't stop him from showing them off.

Tursi heads into the back room, reaches onto a shelf he grabs a brightly colored soccer cleat. Nike calls the color “Hyper Punch” -- a mix of blinding pink and hunter orange, with the company’s signature swoosh across the top. The cost: $275.

“These will go June 12, all sold out," he says.

In a month, the World Cup will be over. Pretty soon, Tursi says, the buzz will be about whatever Nike and Adidas do next.

Doctors Don't Know What Women Want To Know About Birth Control

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:35

Doctors tend to think it's most important to discuss how to use contraceptives and whether they're effective, a survey found. But women care more about safety and side effects.

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California Teacher Tenure Ruled Unconstitutional

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:29

A judge ruled Tuesday that California's laws deprive students of their constitutional right to an education.

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With More Veterans Needing Health Care, What Will The Cost Be?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:29

Veterans Affairs has a budget of $160 billion, the second largest in government. Some veterans groups say this isn't enough to meet the rapidly expanding demands placed on the VA health system.

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Moms And Tykes Should Eat More Fish Low In Mercury, Says FDA

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:21

Many mothers-to-be and breastfeeding women were turned off of fish out of mercury concerns. A study finds many of these women now eat too little fish, so two agencies are recommending they eat more.

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Rescue Of German Cave Researcher Could Take Days, Officials Say

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:15

The 52-year-old man has been trapped since Sunday about three-quarters of a mile below ground.

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Massachusetts Inches Toward Health Insurance For All

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 10:44

The state is close to having most of its eligible residents covered. But a failed website has delayed the processing of applications, and some of those waiting may yet decide not to buy health plans.

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Two ways to leave TV

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-10 10:21

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Wednesday, June 11:

In Washington, we get a look at the nation's balance sheet. The Treasury Department is scheduled to release its monthly statement for May.

A House subcommittee on Communications and Technology holds a hearing on "Media Ownership in the 21st Century."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a closed hearing on the situation in Ukraine.

His character's fate looks dubious on "Game of Thrones", but in real life actor Peter Dinklage turns 45. A child of the 80s.

And providing more opportunities to get voted off TV, "American Idol" premiered on June 11, 2002.

A London Summit Tackles A Problem As Old As War Itself

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 09:30

Wartime rape has often been treated as something that's inevitable. A global summit in London looks for ways to stop the abuses and hold perpetrators responsible for sexual violence in conflict zones.

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Immigrant Who Sought Sanctuary In Arizona Church Can Stay In U.S.

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 09:04

Daniel Neyoy Ruiz, 36, was ordered to prepare to leave the U.S. after a traffic stop revealed he wasn't here legally. He has lived in Tucson for 14 years.

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Children Flood U.S.-Mexico Border, Overwhelm Patrol Agency

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 08:53

There's been a dramatic influx of unaccompanied minors showing up at the border. Dianne Solis of The Dallas Morning News talks about what's behind the numbers.

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Student, Suspect Dead In Oregon High School Shooting

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 08:17

Police said the shooter entered Reynolds High School with a rifle, killing a student and injuring a teacher. Police later found the shooter dead; the circumstances are unclear.

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The Salad Frontier: Why Astronauts Need To Grow Lettuce In Space

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 08:04

With the help of grow lights and air exchange fans, NASA is growing lettuce on the International Space Station. The scheme could help keep food costs down — and keep astronauts happy tending plants.

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Giving School Nurses Access To Medical Records Improves Care

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 07:41

Students come to the school nurse for help with asthma, epilepsy and other chronic problems. Some health systems are letting school nurses read student medical records to help coordinate care.

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From Genes To Fangs: Snake Venom Recipes Remain Mysterious

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 07:17

The search for a universal treatment for snakebites is complicated by the fact that each species has a very different cocktail of toxins. Even knowing a snake's DNA might not help much.

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Western Countries Issue Warnings; Kenyan Tourism Gets Pummeled

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 07:11

Kenya is heavily reliant on tourism, but advisories by the U.S., Britain and others have contributed to fewer visitors and job losses. Kenyans say the West is punishing them as much as the terrorists.

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With Concern For Environment, Illinois Bans Microbeads

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 06:51

The tiny, plastic bits are used in consumer products such as skin exfoliants and soap. Environmentalists say when microbeads wash down the drain, they become food to fish and other wildlife.

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Drones Approved: FAA Gives OK To First Commercial Use Over Land

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 06:12

Under a waiver, energy giant BP will use a drone to conduct surveys over large oil fields in Alaska. FAA regulations ban the commercial use of drones in America's skies.

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Insurgent Group Claims Large Part Of Major Iraqi City

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 05:22

The run on Mosul was a reminder of the precarious situation of Iraq's central government and raises serious questions about the government's ability to fight terrorism in Iraq.

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Gunmen Stage Second Assault Near Karachi Airport

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 03:56

A short-lived attack near Karachi's airport interrupted prayers for security officers who died in Sunday's violence at the facility. Flights were halted temporarily.

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