It was only in 2012 that Adidas pulled out of a deal to become Liverpool’s shirt sponsor. Back then, the German sportswear giant claimed that Liverpool did not have the commercial pull to warrant extravagant money for being the kit provider. Fast forward seven years later, Liverpool are involved in a situation where Nike, who is the global industry leader, and New Balance, who are the current sponsors, are fighting for the same right.
It is reported that Nike are ready to offer around £80 million to become the kit provider for Liverpool. Such a deal would eclipse Manchester United’s £75 million per year contract with Adidas – even if this contract will take a significant hit by dropping 30% if United fail to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Nike have been involved in recording kit deals over the last few years. They have been able to pull the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea from rival manufacturers. A vast sum of money has been spent in the process. Nike’s deal with Barcelona runs until 2028 and it is worth £100 million per season. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s kit deal with the US sportswear giant runs until 2032 and it is worth £60 million.
Liverpool were able to negotiate a £45 million per year contract with New Balance. The contract comes to a close at the end of the season. Nike are looking to sneak in and profit from Liverpool’s return to supremacy in English football. The Champions League success last year coupled with a return to the position of being a title contender in the domestic game has skyrocketed Liverpool’s marketing potential and commercial value.
Liverpool’s stock is so high that New Balance, who are ready to match Nike’s figures, are prepared to go to court in order to secure a deal.
Such a new deal would represent an enormous success for the Liverpool off the pitch. The club has been enjoying a return to supremacy in domestic and European football. However, sustaining the success we require a lot of funds and the club has to be very prudent when it comes to maximising the potential. Even when Liverpool were not at the top, the club has always commanded a sizeable commercial revenue in Asian markets. All leading sportswear manufacturers have been aware of this situation for quite a while. Even Puma and Adidas have expressed interest in becoming the kit providers.
New Balance’s existing deal with Liverpool ends next summer and an open war has broken out. It is the perfect situation for Liverpool to let two major rivals fight out between each other. This would ensure the best possible return for the club.
Nike were leading the game not too long ago, but Adidas have been able to gain a stronghold when it comes to securing kit deals from major clubs. Among the top eight kit deals, Adidas have a presence with five clubs – Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus, and Bayern Munich. Nike only represent Barcelona and Chelsea, while Puma’s sole representation is through Manchester City.