A shirt worth its weight in gold. Litterally. Latest news on Friday: France has officially changed its team sponsor. Yup, no more Adidas for Les Bleus, enter Nike. The contract (which should run from the period of 2011 to 2018) has apparently been reported to amount â‚¬320m (£240m) for the period of 7 years, making the French blue shirt the most expensive ever in the history of football.
So, in three years’ time no more three-barred stripes for the Frenchies (2008 Adidas France jersey featured right), but a nice little Nike ‘checkmark’ instead. The change, which brings an end to the 40+ years relationship between the French Football Federation (FFF) and the German sports apparel manufacturer, has been motivated essentially by… money (well, what else could it be really?). The Nike-FFF contract has been valued to â‚¬42.6m a year, i.e. £32m and four times as much as what Adidas were previously paying the French federation. Want some more numbers? That’s â‚¬12.5 more than what Nike was offering the English FA, and triple the amount what they are paying the Brazilian federation or what Puma is paying the FIGC (Italian federation).
“It will be a great opportunity for Nike to ‘catch up’ on the notoriety battle with Adidas” declared Fabrice Ducceschi, general director of Nike France. Indeed, according to the latest studies, Adidas is recognized by over 60% of the French population, against only 42% for Nike. FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes is quite satisfied with the operation: “I think it can safely be called a success. The operation will have a positive domino effect on the entire structure of French football, from the national team to the amateur clubs. We will now be able to adequately finance the war on doping and violence, as well as the youth academies throughout the country“.
It’s a big blow for Adidas, despite the sports company managed to retain contracts with the German and Mexican football federations. As a small consolation, Adidas’s presence within Les Bleus will not disappear completely however: they still maintain individual sponsorship deals with Patrick Vieira, Karim Benzema, and Samir Nasri. But speaking of super business deals, earlier this month the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionel) had announced the renewal of their TV rights contract with premium pay television channel Canal+ and telecom service Orange: â‚¬668m per season for a period of 3 years.
You can say what you want about Ligue 1 football and the level of play in France, even boring 0-0 draws are quite expensive in the end.
Marco Pantanella is the Chief Editor of Soccerlens and the Author & Editor of the mCalcio blog