Kit Deal More than Just Highest Bid Wins
As the home straight in the battle for the Premier League narrows into view and preparations begin for promotional shots for the new kits that will be worn by the team next year, thoughts are already turning in some quarters as to who will take over the role of kit maker for Liverpool. As we enter the final season of the current contract with New Balance, it has already been quoted in many media outlets that parties have already begun to open discussions with the club.
With record breaking sales of the last 2 kits leading to the club having to put a pre-order link for any supporters wishing to own the current home shirt, demand for a Liverpool shirt is clearly high and this will allow Liverpool to command a higher revenue from any prospective kit maker should an extension agreement not be reached. Any deal proposed will need to be heavily scrutinised to ensure that it has an overall benefit to the financial success of the club.
A number of different organisations have been banded around including a possible return for Adidas who currently have a £75m-a-year deal with Manchester United which contains a number of clauses that if breached could see the figure drop significantly. This is one thing to bear in mind, as with the uncertainty of football, peaks and troughs are commonplace especially with the more competitive nature of the Premier League.
Another thing to consider is the demands on your retail operations. Some reports in years gone by had suggested control of our retail shops was wanted as part of a lucrative contract which would almost turn the club shops into “Nike” or “Adidas” shops with limited Liverpool products for example. The other obstacles Liverpool have come up against in the past is having a deal which allows creativity from the club and the release of their own fashion items that are not affiliated or bearing the kit makers name. Whilst the designs are not to every supporters taste, there is an element of revenue attached which could be enough to convince the club to take a slightly lower amount but regain that control.
While the financial muscle will be with the more established brands such as Nike/Adidas, there is the concern that the design of the kit may not be as unique as going with a less established/more independent brand so in effect the kit for Liverpool would look like the same shirt provided for Manchester United with the only difference being the shade of Red and the sponsors names and club logos.
From comments I’ve seen raging across social media and in comments on the media reports, there appears to be a larger proportion of people wanting Adidas over Nike with some levelled arguments over reasons for choosing to either stay with or move away from New Balance who themselves entered the kit making market under the guise of Warrior and first made Liverpool’s kits in 2012. Nike themselves may try to do all they can to secure a large team to their portfolio having seen Manchester City make the decision to move to Puma in the upcoming summer and having lost Manchester United to Adidas a couple of years ago.