CATEGORY ANALYSIS: APPAREL SPONSORSHIP
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posted on November 21, 2018
Apparel sponsorship is one of the smaller categories in sports (and elsewhere). Not because the industry isn’t big business, but because of how big the business really is. There are two major players (as well as a couple brands aiming to get into that category) and several brands worldwide focusing on sport- or region-specific deals.
No surprises here: the top tier in apparel sponsorship is made up of megabrands Nike and Adidas. Some will consider Under Armour to be part of this group – we are not today, mostly owing to Nike and Adidas far more global reach. Though don’t worry, you’ll see more about Under Armour and fellow up-and-comer, the resurgent Puma, later on.
Nike and Adidas have made our top tier because most people we know own at least one item of clothing from these companies. This could be because those individuals like each brand’s fit, fitness-wise, or because they’re a fan of the brands’ partners.
Often considered the preeminent sports apparel brand – especially considering its associations with respective sport GOATs like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Serena Williams and (formerly) Roger Federer – Nike has some of the most extensive relationships in the sports apparel sponsorship industry. Stateside, we pay perhaps most attention to Nike’s deals in basketball and the NCAA. Worldwide, Nike has become a major player in the world’s sport: football.
Prior to purchasing British brand Umbro (more detailed about Nike’s later sale of the brand upcoming), Nike had a difficult time making inroads into the sport. That’s difficult to believe when you now consider Nike’s truly remarkable reach in the sport with top players, teams, and leagues.
Of the top leagues in the world (usually considered to be the English Premier League (EPL), France’s Ligue 1, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and Germany’s Bundesliga), Nike has been affiliated with the EPL, La Liga and Serie A. The brand’s partnership with the EPL has lasted over ten years as the Official Ball Supplier. While this designation is markedly different from an apparel sponsorship, league affiliations do have a tendency to produce trends amongst teams within the league.
Nike is expanding its quantity of affiliated teams; the brand's top partnerships are with the following clubs:
- EPL: Chelsea FC, Tottenham Hotspur
- Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco
- Serie A: AS Roma, Inter Milan
- La Liga: FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid
Some of these teams have breathtaking contracts. Last year, PSG signed an extension with Nike worth around £60 million per season until 2027. The previous deal was not set to expire until 2022, but featured a much lower price tag at only(!) £25 million per season. The team chose to renegotiate based on Chelsea’s £62 million and Manchester United’s £100 million per season; though Manchester United’s deal is with Adidas. PSG can also earn a bonus if the team wins the UEFA Champions League.
Chelsea’s £60 million+ deal more than doubled the club’s previous contract with rival Adidas. It is noted this deal is particularly impressive as it was signed in the aftermath of Chelsea’s failure to qualify for Champions League play. However, do consider Chelsea has been in the top 3 on the EPL table in four of the past five full seasons, winning twice (in 16/17 and 14/15), and is currently sitting fifth this year.
Nike also signed an extension with Tottenham Hotspur. This partnership is scheduled to run even longer than PSG’s above: until 2033. Monetary details are not yet announced, but this partnership continues Nike’s clear objective to partner with top teams in each league. Take a look below at how the teams mentioned in the list above have fared over the past five seasons:
Sources: EPL, La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A
Monaco’s current season not withstanding, when table results are averaged, none of these teams have an average ranking above fifth. This is especially relevant when you consider continental league berths: the top teams (usually two or three) qualify automatically for the UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage, with those just below either qualifying for a spot in a UCL play-off or into the UEFA Europa League (UEL). Extra play means extra eyes on those kits, which is why these top teams command the euros they do.
Like the brand’s strategy with teams, Nike also doggedly recruits top players to partner. These include international stalwarts like Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Juventus) and Neymar (Brazil, PSG), but also breakout individuals like Blaise Matuidi (France, Juventus) and Kylian Mbappe (France, PSG). Ronaldo, on a lifetime contract, generates about $216 million in value for Nike annually, while details for Neymar typically generates more than $100 million annually (for all sponsors, including Nike) through his endorsement activities.
Other notable players signed with Nike include Harry Kane (England, Tottenham Hotspur), Luka Modric (Serbia, Real Madrid), Christian Pulisic (United States, Borussia Dortmund), Rafael Varane (France, Real Madrid), and Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea). Many of these players go on to feature on Nike social media or advertising, such as Blaise Matuidi’s “Spark Brilliance” ad below:
Nike has two major league or governing body level deals in the sport of basketball, perhaps the brand’s best known affinity in the United States (and certainly one of the sports that launched it into the superstardom it enjoys today). These deals are with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Both deals began in 2017 (though the NBA’s deal was signed in 2015). The NBA’s signing with Nike was a direct consequence of Adidas’ announcement its intention not to seek contract extension with the league.
Both deals were fairly long-term, the NBA deal was an eight year term while FIBA signed an 11-year contract (through 2027). Both deals included prominent branding opportunities – including jerseys for the NBA deal (which was not the case for the previous partner) – for the Nike “swoosh”. Perhaps the greatest benefit to the FIBA sponsorship is the wide variety of events the partnership will cover; it covers rights at the Men’s and Women’s FIBA competitions (including World Cups, Continental Cups, and Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) for the entire partnership period. The NBA deal was estimated (though not confirmed) to be around $1 billion annually.
This is another category where Nike favors (extraordinarily) long-term deals. One comes to mind immediately: Nike is signed on with USA Track & Field until 2040. An astounding 23-year extension was signed in 2014. This deal keeps Nike as the team’s official apparel sponsor at both World Championships and the Olympics until 2040. Exact terms weren’t released, but it was estimated the new deal was worth between $450-500 million (completely obliterating the previous deal signed in 2009 for the period until 2017, worth “only” $10 million per year in cash and goods).
Two female GOATs (and to be clear, we’re not specifying the gender to say these women are female GOATs, just that they’re GOATs who happen to be female) have deals with Nike. These dominant women are Simone Biles (gymnastics) and Serena Williams (tennis). Serena originally signed on with Nike in 2003 after a previous partnership with Puma. This partnership has been going strong ever since, with Nike providing some of Williams’ most memorable ensembles in 2018 (the unfortunately controversial French Open catsuit and the US Open tutu). Williams’ partnership began with a five year deal and three year option, and has been extended since.
Meanwhile, 2016 Olympic champion and multiple World champion Simone Biles signed on with Nike in 2015. At that point, she wasn’t an Olympic champion, but she was a pretty sure bet: she’d won multiple medals at each World Championships in 2013-2015, including repeating as the All-Around gold medallist.
It's official. I am proud to announce I am a Nike Athlete ❤️ having fun here in Portland #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/7vCIPfvZD6
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) November 10, 2015
Nike owns three of the six largest NCAA deals including:
(2) Ohio State – 15 years, $252 million
(3) Texas – 15 years, $250 million
(5) Michigan – 15 years, $173.8 million
The brands been in competition with Adidas, and more recently, Under Armour, for the largest deal in the market. While that spot is currently held by Under Armour and UCLA (more of those terms discussed later), it’s definitely been a close race – and an ever-changing one monetarily. As recently as 2010, the largest contract overall was Adidas’ with Michigan for $66.5 million over eight years. Nike’s largest contract at the time was with Alabama for an eight year term work $30 million.
While Nike may have made inroads in game ball sponsorship, Adidas remains far ahead. Nike holds deals with the EPL, Serie A, and La Liga, but Adidas balls can be seen on the pitch at the largest tournament in the world: the FIFA World Cup. These tournaments are in addition to the brand’s league partnerships with the UEFA Champions League, USA’s Major League Soccer (MLS), Argentina’s Superliga and Primera Division, the Japanese J League, Germany’s Bundesliga, and until recently France’s Ligue 1 (this league has since switched to Uhlsport for game balls). Adidas’ deal with the MLS was valued around $700 million for a six year term.
Perhaps Adidas’ greatest chance to assert dominance over Nike in the soccer sphere is through the brand’s official sponsorships of both FIFA and UEFA. First signing on for the 1998 France World Cup, the partners celebrated the twenty year anniversary at this year’s World Cup in Russia. Adidas’ was probably one of FIFA’s favorite gifts, with an investment between $96-$176 million for this year’s tournament. In addition to the game ball, Adidas logos are featured on referee uniforms. Most importantly, Adidas benefits from FIFA’s exclusivity efforts. Though this linked case demonstrates FIFA protecting Nike and Coca-Cola, the fact remains FIFA was completely willing to levy fines on behalf of sponsors. Adidas is signed with FIFA through 2030.
The deal with UEFA Champions League is currently shorter term and scheduled to expire in 2021. The last contract covered the ‘18-’21 cycle. Adidas also provided the game balls at the most recent UEFA EUROs tournament in 2016, though a 2020 provider appears to be uncertain. We would usually expect to see an Adidas ball at the 2020 EUROs, but with the UEFA Europa League’s recent switch to the Molten brand, the situation is not clear cut. EUROs operates on the same cycle as the Summer Olympics; the next tournament will be June 12 – July 12, 2020 with the Olympics following from July 24 – August 9, so we should find out the game ball provider soon.
Adidas has signed on with several of Europe’s preeminent club teams including:
- Manchester United (EPL)
- FC Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)
- Real Madrid (La Liga)
- Juventus (Serie A)
- Olympique Lyonnais (Ligue 1)
While the brand has also signed on with several other teams in each league, these represent the top ranked teams working with Adidas. On average, only one of these teams have an average table ranking of above 3.33 - and that team is Manchester United, a team with so much global appeal it doesn’t matter.
Sources: Bundesliga, EPL, La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A
However, Adidas’ other teams in these leagues aren’t at as high of a standard as those signed with Nike. Particularly troubling at the moment is Adidas’ place in La Liga as Real Madrid struggles since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure for Juventus.
Adidas has usually had successful deals with national teams playing in the Olympic Games or FIFA World Cup. While the brand did not sponsor either of the two teams in this year’s World Cup Final, several teams did make it past the group stage, including Japan (Round of 16), Spain (Round of 16), Argentina (Round of 16), Colombia (Round of 16), Russia (Quarterfinals), Sweden (Quarterfinals), and Belgium (Semifinals). Other teams aligned with Adidas included Germany, Mexico, Egypt, and Morocco. Most Adidas teams are signed through the next World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
While Adidas has a larger foothold in soccer than any other sport, the brand works with top-class athletes across the spectrum.
Also very visible for Adidas are its partnerships in tennis, where it is often tradition for apparel brands to release its season and Grand Slam kits for both top and other sponsored players. Top ranked players working with Adidas include Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev on the men’s side and Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, and Garbine Muguruza on the women’s.
One of the brand’s few gymnastics deal is with British Olympic medalist Nile Wilson. While we haven’t been able to find more information on this contract with Wilson, it’s a good one for the sport. Wilson is also a vlogger and has over 1 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. Not bad at all.
But we can’t move on without touching on the numerous top football players Adidas works with. Many are leaders on their national or club teams; these athletes include:
- Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool FC)
- Dele Alli (England, Tottenham Hotspur)
- Paul Pogba (France, Manchester United)
- Mesut Ozil (Germany, Arsenal)
- Ivan Rakitic (Croatia, FC Barcelona)
- Mats Hummels (Germany, FC Bayern Munich)
- Javier Hernandez, also known as Chicharito (Mexico, West Ham United)
- DeAndre Yedlin (USA, Newcastle United)
- Becky Sauerbrunn (USA, Utah Royals FC)
- Lionel Messi (Argentina, FC Barcelona)
In our last sports category for Adidas, the brand was a partner for the 2012 Olympic Games held in London. At the time, this partnership was worth just over $200 million. With the 2024 Games coming up in Paris, we’ll be watching closely if another partnership (and at what cost) will be struck. This year's Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, partnered with The North Face (fitting for a Winter Games).
Three performers who have or have had highly visible deals with Adidas include Justin Bieber, Kanye West, and Pharrell Williams.
These brands, while not yet or currently at the level of a Nike or Adidas, are aiming to get to that level. These brands are specifically targeting teams, leagues, players, and others immediately available and in-line with company values or goals. The two we explore in this category are Under Armour and Puma.
Under Armour, like Nike, is an American brand. It’s newer than Nike, which can perhaps explain its still-growing global market. Many of its partnerships – with the exception of a few – are with quintessentially or primarily American sports leagues, teams, or athletes.
Teams & Leagues
UCLA and Under Armour’s partnership is currently the most lucrative in the NCAA. It is $280 million payed out over 15 years, beating Nike’s top deal with Ohio State by almost $30 million. Unlike Nike and Adidas, this UCLA deal is Under Armour’s only one in the top six for the NCAA (Nike has three and Adidas two). Under Armour does, however, have deals with several very visible schools including Auburn, South Carolina, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin.
In the world of American professional sports, Under Armour is involved with three mainstream entities. After trying out NASCAR on a single-year deal, the brand signed on in 2014 with Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. This deal didn’t include the drivers, but it did give UA the ability to use likenesses, cars, and numbers for the team members. The brand also outfitted other people involved, from the pits to the office.
Additionally, Under Armour supplies footwear and gloves for the NFL, as well as official headwear and performance apparel provider for its Scouting Combine. UA is the Official Performance Footwear Supplier for the MLB and an official partner and title sponsor for the NBA Draft Combine.
On the amateur side, UA has a current deal with Ripken Baseball, signed in 2014. The brand previously had a deal with USA Gymnastics, but cancelled that partnership late last year following the Larry Nassar allegations and subsequent indictment. That contract was intended to run until the 2020 Olympics. Under Armour was not the only brand to vacate partnership with USAG at the time; many long-term partners either let their deals expire or cancelled their partnerships.
Current Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry started his NBA career as a Nike man, only signing on with Under Armour in 2013. Think back: this was before the Warriors three titles, and not so far removed from the team middling in mediocrity, not to mention Curry’s own injury history. However, follownig that breakout season, Under Armour offered Curry the chance to be THE guy at the brand, rather than one of Nike’s stable of stars.
Another star for Under Armour – but in another sport – is golfer Jordan Speith. The brand approached this deal in much the same way as Curry’s, offering Speith (then only 19) the chance to be the face of the sport for Under Armour – through 2025. Less mainstream (though you’ve probably seen the ad featured below by now) is Under Armour’s partnership with ballerina Misty Copeland. She does, however, fit into the brand’s goal of finding “game changers.”
Like Adidas, Under Armour has also began forging entertainment partnerships. One of the brand’s most prominent is with the artist known as A$AP Rocky. The two are collaborating on a line of clothing.
Across the pond, Under Armour has managed a few deals, most notably with Olympic champions Anthony Joshua (boxing) and Andy Murray (tennis). Under Armour also has one team in the EPL: Southampton FC (currently ranked 16th in the EPL).
Often known (fairly or unfairly, depending on who you talk to) as the little brother to Adidas, Puma has nonetheless carved out its spot in several sports as an in-demand shoe and apparel sponsor.
Following (or leading up to, as the case may be) this year’s NBA Draft, the shoe sponsor everyone was talking about wasn’t those mentioned previously. It was Puma. Three highly-touted rookies were going to enter the NBA not with Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour, but but Puma. These players included Arizona’s Deandre Ayton (drafted by the Phoenix Suns), Duke’s Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings), and Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr (Denver Nuggets). Ayton’s deal is for four years and includes both shoe and apparel endorsements, while Bagley’s was a five year contract.
These rookie deals kickstarted a renewed focus on basketball at Puma, which also renewed with Hall of Famer Walt Frazier, who launched the brand’s first signature basketball shoe in 1973. Meanwhile, Puma is going beyond players as the new sponsor of The Basketball Tournament. This event is a star-studded basketball event worth a cool $2 million to the winning team (which feature former college and NBA players as well as international players). Puma is now the official apparel and footwear sponsor for the tournament.
Perhaps one of Puma’s most visible deals is the one with the golden boots. The brand signed a deal with Usain Bolt in 2013, prior to his swansong at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The deal, meant to last for the duration of Bolt’s career, was worth $10 million annually while competing, and $4 million annually post-retirement. This partnership has been enormously successful for the brand, even as it strictly followed the Olympic marketing guidelines as a non-Games sponsor. Check out Puma’s creative copy below:
Just north, Puma made another deal in the Caribbean – this time with the Cuban Olympic Committee. The brand outfitted Cuban athletes at both the 2015 Pan American Games (held in Toronto) and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. This deal came about following Puma’s previous contracts with Cuban national sport governing bodies, particularly boxing and volleyball.
Two high-profile players have recently switched to Puma from rival Adidas: Luis Suarez (Argentina, FC Barcelona) and David Silva (Spain, Manchester City). Suarez was with Adidas for more than ten years, but took a deal with Puma worth £1 million annually. He played sans brand over the summer. Silva’s deal came amid speculation his team (and related teams) would also be switching as well.
Similarly, Serie A's AC Milan did the same switch. Interestingly, the team’s deal with Puma is initially worth about €8 million less than its previous deal with Adidas, but has built-in bonuses that will allow the team to make up the difference.
It is worth noting the European teams affiliated with Puma, while not by any means unsuccessful, do not necessarily reach the same heights as those we discussed with Nike and Adidas. The most perennially successful Puma team is Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund; the EPL’s Arsenal also makes a case. Check out the brand’s top teams in each league:
Sources: Bundesliga, EPL, La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A
One deal outside the norm for Puma is it’s contract with the Houston Texan’s Jadeveon Clowney, signed (like the deals in the NBA this year) just prior to the NFL Draft. While Puma doesn’t have other high-profile NFL signees like this one, Clowney was brought on to enhance the brand’s place in the US market.
Asics is a brand with a portfolio of important deals in specific sports for specific markets. Major sports of interest include tennis, rugby, cricket, and athletics. Each of these sports, while reaching and engaging wide a global market, usually only do so at specific times of year. This is in contrast to a sport like soccer or the NFL, both of which can manage to make the headlines in the offseason.
Primarily focusing upon governing bodies, Asics has several noteworthy deals. First, with the International Association of Athletics Federations, in a deal the brand took over from IAAF’s previous partner Adidas. This deal was reached in 2016. Moving down to the country level, Asics has two major current deals as well as one cancelled earlier this year. The two current deals with the South African Rugby Union and Australian Rugby will likely result in decent exposure (if not Stateside) during next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan. Cancelled earlier this year was Asics’ contract with Cricket Australia following the ball tampering scandal.
While Asics also runs programs with players in the sports mentioned above, the brand also has a highly visible player contract in tennis. Four times a year, this player is guaranteed to be a Grand Slam favorite: Novak Djokovic. While not wearing Asics apparel (he recently switched to Lacoste from Uniqlo), he does sport Asics shoes while on court. Asics has a history of working with tennis players switching from smaller brands; French player Gael Monfils also worked with Asics after his deal with KSWISS expired.
New Balance approaches its sponsorship deals through the middle ground when comparing Asics and Tier 1 or up and coming brands. While it has deals with lesser-publicized sports or teams, it balances that effort with a few target contracts in the visible leagues.
In 2015, New Balance made its first foray into premier European soccer by signing deals with two EPL teams (Liverpool and Stoke City), as well as Porto and Sevilla on the continent. This past year, the brand’s investment into Liverpool paid off extraordinarily well as the team made the Champions League final against Real Madrid, giving New Balance about 200 million eyes on its classic NB logo on LFC’s kits.
During the final year of Adidas’ contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board, reports surfaced (correctly, it turned out) that New Balance would be succeeding the German brand as the contract expired. This was in the months following Adidas’ gigantic deal with Manchester United, and also resulted in New Balance being able to offer ECB about £1 million more per year than its previous contract. Also in cricket, New Balance is affiliated with Cricket South Africa (CSA) on a national level, and English players Joe Root, Ben Stokes, and Mark Wood. With CSA, the two are in the middle of a five-year partnership, currently expiring in 2020.
Remaining higher-profile deals for New Balance fall into a wide spectrum: endorsement deals with top-20 (career high ranking #3) ATP player Milos Raonic and NBA player Gordon Hayward, and an apparel sponsorship of the Olympic Council of Ireland.
Several brands - even if each offers a wide variety of sporting apparel - concentrate their sponsorship dollars on one or two sports where they feel that money can make a bigger impact. Often this sport is soccer, but we will see a few brands go beyond that sport as well.
Fila is a brand primarily concentrating on one segment: tennis. You’ll see a few deal that fall outside the sport, but really give the impression of one-offs rather than expansion efforts.
Fila has long been in the tennis business, but that hasn’t guaranteed the brand the top players. Two players who reached the top of their games and have deals with Fila include are two Balkan players: former World #1 Jelena Jankovic and US Open champion Marin Cilic. Jankovic signed on with Fila in 2012, while Cilic came (back) four years later in 2016. Cilic had signed with Fila as junior player but while playing on the main circuit was associated with Li Ning.
Other notable players on Fila’s roster include American Sam Querrey and Australian Ashleigh Barty. While Sam Querrey has been a reliably seeded players at Grand Slams for the last several years, Ashleigh Barty really started rising in the rankings just last year.
The most recent notable signing with Fila was Leo Borg, the son of champion Bjorn Borg. The elder Borg reinstated his relationship with the brand, while it was agreed the younger Borg would begin advertising duties next year.
Fila is also associated with several tournaments on the ATP and WTA circuits. In general, these are all US-based tournaments including:
- Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati, OH)
- Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open (Newport, RI)
- BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells, CA)
Fila also previously had a deal with the Sony Ericcson Open (which is now affiliated with Lacoste as the Miami Open) and Wimbledon.
Outside the US, the brand has a relationship with the Argentine Tennis Association. This deal includes outfitting both Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams – ideal for the AAT as the Davis Cup teams will usually include top player Juan Martin del Potro.
Fila has two unusual deals – we're using unusual here in recognition of these deals falling outside of tennis – with the Netherlands Olympic Committee and Grant Hill, a celebrated former NBA player.
The Netherlands Olympic Committee partnered with Fila in 2017 to begin outfitting its teams. This deal is scheduled to run until 2022 (ending the Winter Games cycle in Beijing). Like Puma’s deal with the Cuba Olympic Committee, Fila was previously affiliated with a sport-specific federation, in this case the Royal Dutch Skating Federation. That affiliation began in 2014.
And just last month Fila resigned with former NBA player Grant Hill. Hill had signed with Fila during his days as a player, and following his Hall of Fame induction, resigned to a lifetime deal. Probably not a bad day for him at all. However, this deal is not seen as a foray in to basketball but as an easy launch into the retro business.
Uhlsport’s most visible deals all fall into the football industry. In the major European leagues, it has a partnership with FC Köln of Germany’s Bundesliga. But its most extensive presence may be in the Middle East. Following Adidas’ decision to drop its sponsorship of Team Melli after US regulations demanded companies cease working in Iran, the national team made a switch to uhlsport. Similarly, so did many teams playing in the country, including:
- Esteghlal Khuzestan
- Foolad Khuzestan
- Malavan Bandar Anzal
- Naft Tehran
- Rah Ahan
- Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan
- Tractor Sazi Tabriz
Tied for third place in proportion of EPL teams sponsored is Umbro at 15%. The three teams are Bournemouth, Everton, and West Ham United. Bournemouth switched to Umbro for the 2017/2018 season from JD. Nike sold this brand in 2012 (at a loss after purchasing in 2007), but during its time under the Nike umbrella, Umbro had a lucrative partnership with the English Football Association supplying kits for all of Club England’s 23 teams. Umbro also supported England’s bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup (which, as you may have noticed, they lost to Russia). That deal was worth $1.44 million, which seems reasonable considering it was signed during the candidate stage of a bid.
Umbro also had a deal with the Football Association of Ireland, signed in 2010 on a ten-year term. At the time, it was valued at €25.6 million with potential performance bonuses that could raise the value just under €10 million more.
Sport Specific (...But Maybe More)
Two brands, though with a visible football presence, also have notable deals outside the sport. These two brands are Danish brand Hummel and the Italian brand Errea. While Hummel primarily concentrates on football and handball, Errea has a diverse portfolio in other Olympic sports including volleyball, basketball, rugby, archery, and others outside football. Both primarily operate sponsorship in Europe though retail globally.
Though previously a sponsor of globally branded teams like Real Madrid or Tottenham Hotspur, Hummel is no longer typically partnering with those types of teams. This is likely due to the extremely high fees associated with the deals those teams have been signing with Nike or Adidas. However, Hummel does have a presence in the market as a sponsor of Scottish Premiership team Rangers FC, as well as with Bundesliga’s SC Freiburg and J1’s V-Varen Nagasaki. The Rangers deal is estimated to be worth £10 million until 2020/21. The team is switching from Puma.
Additionally, Hummel is the kit sponsor of both the Danish and Afghan national football teams. Its current deal with the Danish Football Association runs through 2024. For a Danish brand and a Danish governing body, these two have an interesting history; Hummel first partnered with the DBU from 1979-2004 only resigning after a contract with Adidas in 2016.
Hummel also works with athletes directly. One of the brand’s more heartwarming partnerships is with Khalida Popal, the former face of Afghani women’s football, who now lives in Denmark. The brand is prominent in the world of handball, working with Mikkel Hansen, Daniel Narcisse, Paul Drux and Victor Tomás.
One of the most talked teams at this year’s World Cup first-timer Iceland. The only team in the tournament with the Italian brand as kit sponsor, CBS Sports gave the kits a solid middle-of-the-pack ranking. And while Iceland didn’t make it out of the group stage, they did draw with Argentina. The partnership between the team and the brand began in 2002 – way before the team was in the spotlight. It’s scheduled to expire in 2020, but it’s definitely been worth the money for Errea. Just in the past two years, Iceland defeated England to make the quarterfinals at the 2016 UEFA EUROs and qualified for the World Cup for the first time. Also outfitted by Errea is the Ethiopian national football teams. That four-year deal also expires in 2020.
Errea also works with a few teams in the European football leagues, though only one in the top category. These include Norwich City FC (currently 1st in the EFL Championship) Queen’s Park Rangers (10th in EFL Championship), Pescara (2nd in Serie B), and Parma (11th in Serie A).
Interestingly enough, as we just discussed Danish brand Hummel, Errea signed a deal with the Danish national teams in volleyball in 2014. At that point, the teams had been wearing Errea for three years already. The partnership was scheduled to end last year, and we haven’t found a source detailing where the governing body went after that point.