There’s a lot of money to be made in sport sponsorship and endorsement deals. In the world of soccer, every year billions of dollars are up for grabs for the manufacturers who supply everything from team kits to the balls and shin-pads we buy at the local sporting goods store. In this realm, Nike and Adidas rule, taking in nearly $5 billion between the two of them last year. One part of this industry, often overlooked yet potentially worth tens of millions per player, revolves around soccer boots and the players who endorse them.
In soccer, jersey and team sponsors are out of the hands of the player. Kits are manufactured by the likes of Adidas, Nike, Puma and Warrior. As a player in this instance, you wear what the team wears. However, boots, cleats, shoes – or whatever you want to call them – are the one piece of equipment which are fair game. A player can sign on with any manufacturer of their choosing, usually making a significant profit in the process.
Soccer boots may not be as visible as the jerseys the players wear but manufacturers still spend hundreds of millions to sign players up and get as many of their boots out onto a pitch as possible. It’s an aspect of the sports market that is taken very seriously. Just ask Nike. In the Euro 2012 tournament, while everyone else was watching Spain progress to the title, Nike was tabulating that 59% of all goals scored up to the quarter-finals were scored with Nike boots. Still not convinced? Just a few years ago, Nike sued then Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Özil for wearing a pair of Adidas boots. Technically Özil was out of contract with Nike but the American manufacturer had the right to match any new offers made to Özil before the German midfielder could start wearing a boot from a different manufacturer. Nike won and Özil had to wear ‘brandless’ shoes for part of the season.
Soccer boots are just as important for the player on the pitch as they are for the player’s bank account. The following is a list of 10 famous footballers, the manufacturers they are contracted to and the type of soccer boot they wear while playing.
10. Neymar – Nike, minimum $1 million per year
Brazilian forward Neymar was one of the biggest names to grace the soccer world this past summer. Clubs and fans around the world kept tabs on the 22-year old while he played in Brazil, long before his much anticipated move abroad. The eventual move to Barcelona, amid ongoing controversy, added further drama and excitement to Spain’s La Liga especially considering Real Madrid’s counter with the transfer of Gareth Bale.
Neymar is a marketing dream because he is so well known outside of Europe. Currently, he has contracts with companies like Castrol, Red Bull, Volkswagen and Panasonic. According to Forbes, Neymar has an 11 year deal with Nike worth $1 million per year. Given the Brazlian superstar is in the third year of that deal and currently playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, it is more than likely that figure has been adjusted – we’re just waiting for Nike to release the official figures. As part of this deal, Neymar currently wears Nike’s Hypervenom Phantom boots.