For 23-years, sports giant Nike and Spain’s top-flight football governing body La Liga has enjoyed a tight relationship.
However, the rumors bursting out of Spain look to have confirmed that relationship will come to a close at the end of this season after La Liga signed a deal with Puma to supply the league with footballs for the next three seasons.
The deal is reportedly worth around $5.6 million per year and sees the German sports brand trump one of their biggest rivals.
Why the change?
La Liga president Javier Tebas wants a ball that is exclusive to La Liga and recognized across the globe as so.
Tebas is reportedly concerned that Nike’s deals with the English Premier League and Serie A means the balls produced are too similar to those from rival leagues and does not enable La Liga to be identified from the actual hardware on the pitch.
Puma on the rise
Puma have upped their commercial efforts dramatic fashion over the last 12 months. A deal with City Football Group to provide Manchester City and its associated clubs (including La Liga side Girona) with their shirts from next season has thrust Puma back to the pinnacle of elite soccer which Nike and adidas has dominated for so long.
Puma’s involvement in La Liga does not end there though as both Antoine Griezmann and Samuel Umtiti also hold personal deals with the brand along with a host of other players plying their trade in Spain’s top flight.
Nike on the decline?
No is the simple answer to this. The American giant may have pulled out of producing golf hardware and are no longer supplying La Liga with its balls but that does not mean the tick brand are slowing down their commercial efforts, just re-focusing them.
Emerging unconfirmed reports that Tottenham’s new Stadium will be sponsored by Nike is evidence of their foothold in soccer should they prove to be true with a ball deal proving small fry in comparison to stadium sponsorship.
However, that is not to discredit Puma’s move into Nike’s La Liga space as the German outfit looks to set re-double its efforts to become the number one sports brand in the world.