Adidas are FIFA's oldest sponsor, and were on the 'ground floor' of the sports marketing model that FIFA implemented in the 1970's and 1980's. Sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup has been the cornerstone of promoting the Adidas brand. Adidas were founded in 1949, and one of it's first products was a lightweight screw-in-stud football boot. The German national football team beat the 'unbeatable' Hungarian national side in the 1954 World Cup final; the Germans wore the Adidas football boot. The football boot was renamed the World Champion, and the sales produced from this World Cup ensured that Adidas would endorse players and teams competing at future FIFA World Cups.
It took longer for Adidas and other 'blue chip' companies to begin sponsoring the actual tournament. FIFA, in the 1950's and 1960's, did not fully appreciate the revenue that they could generate from sponsorship and broadcast rights, and due to FIFA's reluctance, or, shortsighted, they failed to fully monetise the tournament.
Horst Dassler, son of Adidas' founder Adolf Dassler, was instrumental in helping João Havelange become the president of FIFA in 1974. Horst Dassler persuaded João Havelange to increase the 'blue chip' sponsorship of future FIFA World Cups. Adidas has sponsored FIFA World Cups by providing the matchballs for every tournament since 1970. At the following FIFA World Cups, Adidas has provided the following matchballs:
Adidas also provide football boots for players and the kit for teams competing at the FIFA World Cup. Adidas has sponsored the following footballers at the FIFA World Cup: Franz Beckenbauer, David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi. While Adidas has managed to sponsor many of the top players competing at the FIFA World Cup, they have also failed to sponsor some of the greatest players: most notable Pele, who wore Puma's. Adidas also manufacture / provide the team kits for many of the countries competing at FIFA World Cups; most notable West Germany / Germany national sides. At the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup, they provided the kit for both of the finalists: Argentina and Germany.
In 2105, Adidas have been criticised by the media for not demanding that Sepp Blatter stand down as president of FIFA. Horst Dassler, former Adidas president, helped Sepp Blatter become the general secretary of FIFA in 1982. Horst Dassler was the marketing 'master' of Adidas, and was responsible for the vast majority of sponsorship and marketing deals for Adidas in the 1960's, 1970's and early 1980's. Horst Dassler co-founded International Sport and Leisure: this company was FIFAs partner for selling broadcasting rights to the World Cup. Horst Dassler died in 1987, and since then, International Sport and Leisure has been accused of providing kickbacks to FIFA executive committee members.