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Report: Liverpool in talks with Nike for big-money apparel deal

Former Liverpool player Steve McManaman tells Roger Bennett about his days coming through the Liverpool youth ranks under legendary player-manager Kenny Dalglish and the excitement of this season’s title race.

Apparel and sponsorship deals continue to break records every year, and Liverpool appears on the verge of breaking another one.

A report in ESPN states that Liverpool is close to signing an apparel deal with Nike, one that is worth reportedly more than the $979 million deal Manchester United recently signed with Adidas. The report states Liverpool is heading into the last season of its nearly $60 per season deal with New Balance, which began in 2015 and would pay out only around $300 million over the life of the deal.

When signed in 2015, a $300 million kit supplier deal was one of the best in the world, but deals have skyrocketed in recent years as brands look to push their products on successful teams and brands, such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid.

Barcelona has a reported $130 million per season deal with Nike since 2018, which is considered the most-expensive deal in the world, barely beating out Real Madrid’s $128 million deal with Adidas signed in 2015. While Liverpool’s deal reportedly won’t come close to those two clubs, it still could be a substantial increase and provide the club with either more profits to enjoy, or more money to spend towards new signings and youth development.

As revenues continue to rise, one hopes that it could remain in soccer, with more transfer fees going to lower-level clubs as Liverpool signs some of the top youngsters, instead of more big transfer spending with money going to agents.

With Liverpool back in the title picture under Jurgen Klopp, this is a great move in the short term for Nike but it’s unclear how it will look in the long term. Man United has continued to be a name brand across the world, despite struggling in recent seasons in the Premier League, and Liverpool, due to its history, should still carry that weight. However, who knows how Liverpool will be in the coming years, should ownership or the front office fail on some signings.

At the same time, it could force other major apparel brands, such as Puma, New Balance, and Under Armour to invest even more in soccer sponsorships, both in the Premier League and elsewhere.