It may have escaped everybody’s attention because of a certain somebody announcing his retirement but Wednesday was also a quite monumental day for Arsenal FC; as it was revealed they will agree to sign one of the biggest kit manufacturing deals in UK history with Puma.
It has long been suspected that The Gunners were looking to add to their already lucrative shirt sponsorship deal with Fly Emirates and the reports of a £170 million deal with the German company are certainly happy reading for Arsenal fans.
They have previously trailed in the wake of Manchester United’s deal with Nike and Liverpool’s with Warrior; while Tottenham Hotspur’s switch to Under Armour was also for a very lucrative sum.
Before Under Armour it was Puma who provided the kit for their North London rivals and now the company have managed to reincorporate themselves into the English market in some style; it really is shrewd business.
Nike now face a real dilemma with regards to their London market. With Arsenal gone; Spurs and Chelsea not available the fact West Ham United have also agreed a deal with adidas leaves them wondering who to plaster on the outside of the flagship Nike Store from now on; it certainly won’t be Theo Walcott for instance.
It was also long suspected that adidas were to take over from Nike at Arsenal this summer but after the German company pulled out Puma have stepped in and secured a huge deal. It is a tad ironic that the two were of course set-up by the Dassler brothers in 1948. The estranged pair of Adolf and Rudolf formed adidas and Puma respectively from the previous Begruder Dassler Schuhfabrik after falling foul of each other; indeed both companies are still based in Herzogenaurach.
The deal with Puma also sees Arsenal continue to affiliate itself with the untapped resources of the African market. Arsenal already have a huge following in the country because of previously successful African and French-African players to have played under Arsene Wenger.
Puma already has successful brand recognition on the African continent developed over many years of international team sponsorship and clever advertising so the match is made in heaven in that regard.
Allied with their recent links with a Kenyan bank there is certainly some excellent business sense going in this direction.
Puma is also a brand that still carries a sense of cool. The likes of Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg are former Arsenal players that have previously endorsed the company and with the strong emphasis on leisure wear that does so well for the club the signing of Puma should not see that area diminish in quality.
Overall this looks like being the dawn of an excellent new era for Arsenal and Puma; and if they can monopolize the growing African market there may just be millions to be made.
image: © roleATL