As the investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal deepens, we're beginning to learn more about Nike's hand in the ordeal.
Oregon Live reports that Nike bought the rights to the Brazilian national team in 1996 for $160 million. The deal, which gave Nike the rights to outfit and sponsor the CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation), has come under scrutiny due to the involvement of two co-conspirators who were involved in kickbacks and payoffs.
The report, which refers to Nike as "Sportswear Company A," also mentions "Sportswear Company B," which was been identified as Umbro. The brand, best known for its soccer apparel, held the rights to the Brazilian national team and had been outfitting them since as far back as 1958, but that all changed when Nike brought its money to the table.
"The Nike strategy that started in 1994 was pretty direct. It was, 'We will pay a premium,'" said Mike Hoban, a former Umbro employee who had previously worked for Nike.
Apparently, Umbro had seen it coming. "We were cognizant of the competitors on the horizon," Hoban said.
From an outsider's perspective, it may look as if Nike came in and unfairly snatched the CBF away from the "little guy," but Hoban contends that that's not the case here. According to him, it was simply smart business. "There is nothing Nike asked me to do that took the form of corruption or bribery," Hoban said.