Neymar Jr, the star who left Nike and returned the millions to Puma

Neymar has positioned Puma among the greats, ever closer to Nike and Adidas.

Photo: Alexandre Schneider / Getty Images

When in September 2020 the German brand Puma snatched the American Nike from the Brazilian Neymar, the world of sports sponsorship spoke of “earthquake”. A year later, those responsible for the cat’s banner rub their hands over the appeal the Paris Saint-Germain player has given them and because it has reopened the doors of football, blocked until now by Nike and Adidas.

At the moment it is a first step, because Puma is still far from its two major competitors in terms of turnover. Nike exceeds 42,000 million Y Adidas moves in the 20,000 million, in front of 5,200 that Puma has signed in its last fiscal year, somewhat backward from the previous one due to the impact of the pandemic.

But the pull of Neymar has begun to be noticed in a brand that had lost a lot of ground in football and that wanted to make a determined bet on that sport. To this he responds the pharaonic contract that they proposed to the Brazilian player, about € 20 million euros ($ 22.6 million) per year, according to the figures advanced by the specialists and not officialized by Puma. Away from € 9 million euros ($ 10.1 million dollars) that every year they disburse the ex-Jamaican athlete Usain bolt, until now the brightest star in its sports firmament.

It is the best investment what we have done ”, its president, Bjorn Gulden, assured the German press, referring to Neymar, whose presentation video was seen in just a few hours for almost 7 million people within minutes of being posted on Instagram. The Brazilian knows how to handle social networks and his influence on young people is evident.

France, where Neymar has played since PSG disbursed in 2017 € 220 million euros ($ 248.8 million dollars) To acquire their services, the most expensive transfer in history, has become the fastest growing market for the feline brand. Its sales have reached a record when it comes to clothing and sports equipment for children.

Not everything responds to the arrival of Neymar to his range of names. Puma has been betting on soccer for a long time and has attracted names like Antoine Griezmann, Kingley Coman or Raphael Varane. But the Brazilian has to have something of an impact, they argue in Puma, that they put a figure on the table: their model of football boots Future Z, created for Neymar, has sold twice as much as its predecessor, Future, when the Brazilian was still at Nike.

The person in charge of the Neymar project within Puma, Clément Lacour, signed by Adidas, assures in the newspaper L’Équipe that No face has shaken its sales so much since the signing of artist Rihanna in 2015. The impact has been felt in particular in France, where Puma already dresses 21% of first division players, compared to 7% three years ago. Adidas, which has 45% of the players under contract, and Nike, 32% are still far behind.

But the arrival of Neymar has also helped to change the image of Puma in the eyes of footballers, who are beginning to consider it on a par with the two big players in the market. Lacour points out thate young people now want to sign for Puma, while the brand increases its penetration in some markets, such as Brazil, where its Instagram account registers the largest number of followers. Another record attributable to Neymar.

Optimism invades the premises of the German brand, whose president Gulden assured the Handelsblatt newspaper a few days ago that the brand aims to double its turnover in a not too long term. For this, not only They want to sell sportswear and every day they develop their “casual” models, for which they also use Neymar’s image.

Its creative director, Heiko Desens, was in contact with the Brazilian star to create models derived from his tastes, his way of life, his past, according to Lacour. “Neymar wanted to be inspired by the places where he grew up, so we winked at references to Santos and Sao Vicente in all the pieces in the collection“, He points out. The PSG player will also be present in the line that they plan to draw on Batman, a character admired by Neymar, on the occasion of the premiere of the film about the bat man.

Neymar’s drive encourages Puma to continue strengthening its presence in football. Norwegian Erling haaland, one of the most fashionable players at the time, whose contract with Nike expires, It is in negotiations with the German brand, according to the newspaper Bild.

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