We normally associate the most money-spinning sponsorship deals in sport to be between a team and a commercial partner. But what about those companies that actually manufacture the kits that the teams play in? They are equally as desperate to have their brand name associated with the biggest and most popular sports clubs on the planet. Adidas are one of the most prominent manufacturers in the industry, and they have splashed the cash to renew their deal with Manchester United – to the tune of £900 million no less, spread across a ten-year agreement.
Interestingly, the agreement is, in part, performance related – if United fail to reach the Champions League for two consecutive seasons, Adidas will enjoy a 30% discount on their annual payment. They have a long history together – Adidas exclusively designed and made United’s kit every year between 1980 and 1992, and will now enjoy another unbroken spell that started in 2015 and will run through until 2033 at the earliest.
The extension is the most expensive manufacturer deal in Premier League history – Chelsea also penned a £900 million contract with Nike in 2016, but that was and is spread across 15 years rather than the decade-long handshake between United and Adidas. But what is the most lucrative kit deal in world football?
Real Madrid & Adidas (£116 Million Per Season)
They are perennially in the hunt for the Spanish La Liga title and the Champions League. And, while FC Barcelona is arguably a more globally-recognised football club, there’s still plenty of love around the world for Real Madrid, who also boast the most expensive kit deal in the beautiful game today.
The Galacticos’ chiefs put pen to paper on a ten-year deal with Adidas back in 2016, with the agreement earning the Spanish giants an astonishing £106 million per season – the first £1 billion kit contract in football.
Manchester United & Adidas (£75 Million Per Season)
Although their 2023 agreement with Adidas will now dwarf their previous contract, Manchester United were still coining it in from their original deal signed with the German manufacturer back in 2015.
That was a ten-year term worth £750 million, meaning that the Red Devils could add £75 million to their balance sheet every season.
PSG & Nike (£68 Million Per Season)
As if one of the richest football clubs on the planet needed any more money, PSG also boast of the most money-spinning kit deals in modern football. This time it’s Nike, not Adidas, that are forking out the big bucks, with a deal signed in 2019 that is expected to run until 2032 at the earliest. The cost? A handsome £68 million per season.
“Thanks to Nike, we have had a record season for shirt sales, one of the biggest in European football. We look forward to continuing this fast-paced growth and break yet more new ground in the years to come,” so said PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi at the time.
Manchester City & Puma (£65 Million Per Season)
Although they’re the most successful English club of the contemporary era, Manchester City’s biggest kit deal to date has still been dwarfed by those penned by their Mancunian rivals. Even so, the Cityzens aren’t doing too shabbily on the sponsorship front, and in 2019 they penned a ten-year agreement with manufacturer Puma that will see the firm design their kit – at a privileged cost of £65 million per season.
The deal actually involves many of the clubs within the City Football Group framework, although it’s the Cityzens themselves that benefit the most from the balance sheet buffering of the Puma deal. “Puma’s partnership with City Football Group is the largest deal that we have ever done – both in scope and ambition,” said Bjorn Gulden, the former CEO of Puma. For a relatively small company to have one of the best sides in the world on their books is some coup.
Arsenal & Adidas (£60 Million Per Season)
Adidas usurped Puma as the kit manufacturer of choice for Arsenal ahead of the 2019/20 season. The deal is worth a reported £60 million per season, and is expected to run through until 2030 at the earliest.
“The long-term nature of our extension means there’s a real commitment to build on this brilliant collaboration, with a strong focus on growing women’s football and developing our sustainability strategy,” said the Gunners’ chief commercial officer, Juliet Slot.
Bayern Munich & Adidas (£43 Million Per Season)
The seemingly bottomless pit of money at Adidas was plundered yet again in 2015 when the German firm signed a new deal with their perennial national champions, Bayern Munich.
The two parties agreed an extension on a previous deal until 2030 – one of the longest contracts in kit manufacturing, which at £650 million equates to around £43 million per season.