After reading the recent article on a Bayern Munich contract trying to force Frank Ribery into a pair of Adidas football boots I couldn’t get rid of the bad taste in my mouth. I was tempted to leave a rather large comment on the subject, but then decided that I had enough of a rant there to start the basis for an article.
When I crunched the numbers on the price of player sponsorship a few months back, I gained a lot of respect for larger football boot companies (Adidas in particular as they were kind enough to share some of their figures which formed the basis for my article) who focus so much money on getting players to advertise their wares; so I can understand that wherever possible having the biggest names wearing your product can have a massive impact on sales for boots, not to mention other products.
Once a sports company has a player on its books for both boots and club it means they can get much more ‘mileage’ for that particular superstar. It avoids the ‘red tape’ when using the player in ads and marketing campaigns for the seasons new kits. For example Nike use Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez and Evra for their Manchester United-centric adverts, and this season’s Liverpool Kit was launched by Gerrard, Kuyt and Pepe Reina. Many people see certain players as synonymous with certain clubs, especially when advertising their merchandise overseas – Can you imagine seeing an advert for AC Milan replicas with no Kaka?
Again, looking at things from Adidas’ point of view, Ribery signed a contract that he and his agent will have been fully aware of, and he could have argued the toss with the club when negotiating before he put pen-to-paper on his new deal for Bayern.
Ribery continues to wear the Vapor Superfly
However, as frequent poster ‘Jed’ said on the article – it’s a dangerous move when a brand tries to use club loyalty to try and influence endorsement deals. It can start rumours that the player and the club are no longer ‘compatible’, and we all know how little information it takes for transfer gossip to start picking up speed, as well as how much agents like to get a value on how much their client is worth.
Secondly; footballers, like the rest of us get used to boots. Footy Boots community member ‘kevin’ mentioned football boots giving you a mental edge. Whilst it being a debateable issue, it’s a definite possibility that if Ribery had been forced to change from his Vapor’s to Adidas’ likely alternative, the F50, mid-season it might’ve taken him a couple of games to adjust, and in a crowded season a couple of games with your best winger having a hump on about his football boots could cost you valuable points.
The latest F50 from Adidas – the Rome
Finally, and most importantly, I feel it reflects badly on the 3 Stripes as a brand; shouldn’t they have confidence in their football boots to sell themselves to the pro’s? Surely the fact that they’re trying to use Bayern as a lever is a massive statement on where Adidas see themselves in comparison to the competition?
Where does everyone else stand on this?' Should it go as far as that there should be no mention of football boots in a player’s contract? Are there other solutions for companies to help get team’s best player’s in their boots? Or should players just be allowed to use the football boots they want to wear – and if someone wants to sponsor them – so be it?