Klopp links up with club spon­sor’s ri­val

Man­ager signs Adi­das deal as Liver­pool launch Nike kit En­dorse­ment fol­lows lead set by Mour­inho and Guardi­ola

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport | Football - Ex­clu­sive By Sam Wal­lace

Jur­gen Klopp has signed a per­sonal en­dorse­ment deal with Adi­das that un­der­lines his unique com­mer­cial ap­peal – in the same sum­mer that Liver­pool will be­gin their lu­cra­tive kit deal with the Ger­man sports­wear com­pany’s arch ri­val, Nike.

Klopp, 53, has be­come one of the game’s most mar­ketable fig­ures in the wake of the past two sea­sons at Liver­pool in which he has de­liv­ered the Cham­pi­ons League and Premier League ti­tles. The Ger­man coach has pre­vi­ously worn New Bal­ance footwear on the touch­line at An­field – sup­plied by the club’s pre­vi­ous kit man­u­fac­turer.

It is an­tic­i­pated that on the touch­line Klopp will now wear Adi­das train­ers, the mar­quee brand of his home na­tion, in­stead of those of Amer­i­can sports­wear gi­ant Nike. The value of the deal is not known.

Nike and Adi­das have long been en­gaged in a bat­tle for com­mer­cial supremacy across the world game with the lead­ing play­ers tend­ing to wear boots made by one of the two.

En­dorse­ment deals for man­agers are rare, how­ever, with Jose Mour­inho one of the only other coaches with a long-term high-pro­file as­so­ci­a­tion with a ma­jor man­u­fac­turer – also Adi­das. Pep Guardi­ola and Zine­dine Zi­dane have also been am­bas­sadors for Adi­das dur­ing their coach­ing ca­reers.

Klopp is an im­por­tant fig­ure for Adi­das’s foot­ball brand, which in­cludes, among oth­ers, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, and David Beck­ham, and is a main­stay of Bay­ern Mu­nich and the Ger­many na­tional teams.

Klopp’s per­son­al­ity away from the game has also helped him be­come so mar­ketable. His sense of hu­mour as well as his will­ing­ness to en­gage in dis­cus­sion away from foot­ball – Brexit and, more re­cently, the Gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of the Covid cri­sis – has made him a re­lat­able fig­ure for spon­sors and brands.

He has re­cently fronted a Bri­tish cam­paign for the Ger­man beer Erdinger. In his coach­ing ca­reer in Ger­many, he was a fa­mil­iar fig­ure in com­mer­cial breaks, ad­ver­tis­ing cars, choco­late and bis­cuits. As well as his suc­cess at Mainz and then Borus­sia Dort­mund, he was also a suc­cess­ful tele­vi­sion pun­dit dur­ing the 2006 World Cup in Ger­many.

In Oc­to­ber, Liver­pool won a High Court bat­tle to end their pre­vi­ous kit sup­plier con­tract with New Bal­ance with­out that sports­wear com­pany be­ing able to re­new its deal by match­ing the terms the club had agreed with Nike. Un­der New Bal­ance, Liver­pool earned a guar­an­teed £45mil­lion a year.

The Nike deal guar­an­tees around £30 mil­lion, but will of­fer much big­ger re­wards in the long term, the club be­lieve, through its ca­pa­bil­ity to gen­er­ate greater sales.

The five-year Liver­pool-Nike part­ner­ship will be the first be­tween the two and the new home kit was re­leased over the week­end.

Liver­pool have also had two spells in part­ner­ship with Adi­das as their kit man­u­fac­turer, from 1985 to 1996 and then from 2006 to 2012.

Game for a laugh: Jur­gen Klopp’s per­son­al­ity off the pitch has boosted his mar­ketabil­ity

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