Liverpool will announce a new long-term kit deal with Nike ahead of the 2020/21 campaign. But what do we know about the terms so far?
The Reds’ contract with New Balance expires at the end of the season, and after a High Court case ruled against the Boston-based manufacturer in October, the club are set to move on.
Nike will take on the duties, supplying kits and other merchandise around the world, for a support which continues to grow due to the success under Jurgen Klopp.
So what can we expect from Liverpool’s deal with Nike, and how can it benefit the club?
What are the terms of the deal?
When it was initially reported that Liverpool were seeking a considerably bigger deal when their agreement with New Balance ends, the belief was that this would come close to Man United‘s English-record £75 million-a-season contract with Adidas.
But the base figure is actually lower than the £45 million a season agreed with New Balance, with both the Times‘ Paul Joyce and The Athletic‘s James Pearce revealing it will be a guaranteed £30 million a season.
This seems low, but in addition to that Nike are offering 20 percent royalties for merchandise sales, reduced to five percent for footwear.
Furthermore, they will be given “£2 million worth of licensed products per season plus a 19 per cent discount on standard UK wholesale prices for additional products,” according to Pearce.
A conservative estimate places Liverpool’s projected earnings at around £70 million a season.
What else do Nike bring to the table?
The major sticking point in New Balance’s case against Liverpool came in terms of their global reach, which Nike can certainly outweigh.
Nike plan to call upon high-profile names such as LeBron James, Drake and Serena Williams to advertise Liverpool and their products.
The trio have a combined 126.4 million followers on Instagram alone, 105.2 million more than Liverpool.
Meanwhile, they have pledged to sell the club’s kit in at least 6,000 stores worldwide, including 500 of their own, which is at least double that which New Balance have been able to realistically offer.
Furthermore, it’s reported that Nike have already received pre-orders from 8,000 stores globally for next season.
Could Liverpool target new markets under Nike?
The prospect of a wider global reach, and the attraction of celebrity endorsements, should ensure an increase in sales from abroad.
Most prominently, the market that Liverpool are believed to be targeting is in Asia which, according to the Financial Times, is an area in which Nike has “recorded strong growth.”
It is likely that this will see the Reds return to the Far East for a lucrative pre-season tour next summer, despite Klopp’s reservations over long-haul commercial endeavours.
The Financial Times also note Nike’s work with Paris Saint-Germain and the growing popularity of the Ligue 1 club in the United States due to its Air Jordan merchandise.
Will we see more big-name signings?
It is also reported that shirt sales in Asia are “more influenced by superstar players such as Ronaldo than clubs,” and this combined with Nike’s royalty-based deal has prompted speculation over major additions to Klopp’s squad.
Names such as Kylian Mbappe and Jadon Sancho have been regularly mooted due to their marketability and existing association with Nike.
That, plus Klopp has been repeatedly enthusiastic about the pair, and Liverpool made overtures for both prior to their moves to PSG and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
Klopp has, however, claimed that the Reds have “absolutely no chance” to meet the financial demands required to sign Mbappe, who joined PSG from Monaco in 2018 on a permanent deal worth €180 million.
Nevertheless, it is still sensible to suggest that shirt sales could prove more of an incentive for Liverpool in the future, given their lower base-rate earnings with Nike.
And what could the kits look like?
The most important thing for fans, of course, is how the shirts will look.
This is pure speculation at this stage, with the deal with Nike not even officially announced, but the two parties have already agreed designs for the kits and training gear for 2020/21.
“Nike have reserved factory space to manufacture 2.9 million units over the course of next season and have already invested more than $5.8 million in fabric,” reports Pearce.
Footy Headlines have claimed that Liverpool’s home kit will be a similar shade of red to Nike’s offering for Portugal at the 2018 World Cup.
— JC (@scoutedfc) September 27, 2019
The away kit is said to be hyper turquoise, while the third kit would be dark grey, though this is as yet unconfirmed.
One thing we won’t see is Liverpool wearing the new kit for their final home game of season, as has become tradition.
Indeed, the club won’t be able to launch any new kits until after the NB deal expires, meaning a much later launch for the home kit next summer, likely July 1.