Arsenal's move from Nike to Puma has been rumored for quite some time but earlier today, it became official. That's right, Arsenal will ditch the Nike swoosh that they have been sporting for the last 20 years in favor of the signature Puma cat. The move not only means that Arsenal will be wearing Puma for (at least) the next five years, but they'll be flush with cash for doing so.
Puma's Arsenal acquisition will go down as the most expensive yearly kit sponsorship deal in English football history, beating out the likes of Manchester United's $42.5 million per year Nike deal (reportedly, with the current contract expiring at the end of next season) and Warrior's $42 million per year (reported) deal with Liverpool. Arsenal's new partnership will see them receive (a reported) $50 million per year over the next five years. The deal, according to a sportingintelligence report trails adidas' Real Madrid sponsorship (which was renegotiated in 2012) by $2 million per year at the current exchange rate.
Below is a look at how Arsenal's deal compares to the world's 10 largest other properties. The data is adopted from the aforementioned sportingintelligence report and adjusted to current exchange rates based on the team's home currency. Considering that Arsenal sit outside the top ten as things stand, they'll see a pretty dramatic cash infusion starting in July.
Speaking about the new deal, Bjoern Gulden, chief executive officer for PUMA, said:
"Arsenal have been a key strategic target for PUMA for a number of years now. Through a clear commercial vision, a well-defined sports marketing strategy and a relentless enthusiasm within the PUMA organisation, we're proud to have signed this partnership with a truly global football club.
"As we enter a new era in our company history, Arsenal represents a major commercial and marketing opportunity to reinforce PUMA's credibility as a global sports brand, and we have full confidence that the plans in place to activate this partnership will have a significant global impact."
Arsenal CEO, Ivan Gazidis, would add:
"We are excited to be partnering with PUMA, a company whose football heritage and record of innovation have a strong affinity with our own. This represents another important step forward in Arsenal's progression on and off the pitch."
Progress on the pitch, apart from new kits for the players, is perhaps the most important part of the new partnership. The move will see Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger see significantly more cash to spend.
For the last three years, Arsenal have received somewhere between $13 and $15 million per year from their Nike sponsorship. That number will increase between three and four times thanks to Puma.
Speaking to CNN World Sport, Gazidis reiterated that point:
"The money will begin to flow in (in July) and will be available for us to invest in the team."We have always been committed to Arsene and he's always been committed to the club.
"I'm sure Arsene will commit his future to the club, and we will commit ours to his. That will be done at the right time -- quietly -- and then we will let you guys [the press] know.
"We will invest in not just big-name signings but also right across the club -- in the youth academy, scouting network, facilities."
Puma already have a number of sponsored players in Arsenal's ranks, including Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky, Olivier Giroud, Mikel Arteta, and Bacary Sagna with former players Cesc Fabregas and Thierry Henry also wearing the black cat.