Football Boot Endorsments
Not long ago on Footy Boots we were singing the praises of England and Portsmouth goalkeeper David James.
The 37 year old is enjoying one of his best ever seasons. At International level, Fabio Capello picked him for the friendly with Switzerland last month whilst on the club front, Pompey are riding high in the Premier League and are semi finalists in the FA Cup.
This success however, has come despite the fact that James has been having a few problems with his football boots. As he wrote in his Observer column, following the cup tie against Manchester United, “In the tunnel things were tense but Wayne Rooney couldn’t help himself laughing at my boots. I’m supposed to wear sponsors’ boots but they don’t fit very well so I end up having to get different ones and plastering them in stickers. He said they looked a joke.”
With player endorsements such a vital part of the football boot business, this perhaps wasn’t the brightest statement to come out with.
As it happens, James is working very closely with Kelme on a new type of football boot and the company is happy to report that their relationship with the player, who they signed up in 2007 ahead of a long list of competitors, remains as strong as ever.
On a similar theme, Footy Boots does get tipped off from time to time regarding players who are not wearing their sponsors’ football boots in either games or on the training pitch. Indeed, we were recently advised that at a training session ahead of a vital match in Europe, a certain Premier League player had blacked out the sponsors markings on a set of football boots that were not from his official suppliers.
Both stories admirably illustrate the power of player endorsements and the interest their patronage generates.
Speaking exclusively to Footy Boots, Andy Sutherden, MD of Hill & Knowlton, Sports Marketing and Sponsorship specialists said: “The football sponsorship market is a crowded place. It is cluttered with more and more brands and companies trying to stand out from the crowd, and the use of ambassadors is a common way of bringing to life a particular campaign or promotion.
“Careful consideration is needed before associating yourself with a particular player. After all, they’re brands too so pick the wrong one and it can have a negative impact on your own image.
“However, most sponsors would say their player associations help them sell more product. Think Beckham and Gillette, or Lampard and Gerrard for adidas. Young fans are inspired by their footballing heroes and their behaviours and purchasing habits are proven to be influenced by player endorsements. All the time that’s the case, player sponsorship will continue to flourish”.
So it would seem that even with the occasional player packing a large black felt tip pen as a vital part of his kit bag, player endorsements are here to stay, and may well be on the increase.