When in September 2020 the German brand Puma snatched the American Nike from the Brazilian Neymar, the sports sponsorship world spoke of “earthquake”. A year later, those responsible for the cat’s banner rub their hands over the attractiveness that the player of the PSG It 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 and Adidas moves in 20,000 million, compared to the 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 responds the pharaonic contract that they proposed to the Brazilian player, about 20 million euros per year, according to the figures advanced by the specialists and not officialized by Puma. Far from the 9 million euros that each year they disburse the former Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt, until now the brightest star in his sports firmament.
“It is the best investment we have made,” its president, Bjorn Gulden, assured the German press, referring to Neymar, whose presentation video was seen in just a few hours by 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 in 2017 spent 220 million euros to acquire his services, the most expensive transfer in history, has become the fastest growing market for the feline brand. Its sales have reached a record for children’s sports clothing and equipment.
Neymar, but not only: also Griezmann, Coman or Varane
Not everything responds to the arrival of Neymar to his range of names. Puma has been betting on football for a long time and has attracted names like Antoine Griezmann, Kingley Coman and Raphael Varane. But the Brazilian must have something of an impact, they argue at Puma, that they put a figure on the table: their Future Z football boot model, created for Neymar, has been sold twice as much as its predecessor, Future, when the Brazilian is still I was at Nike.
The head of the Neymar project within Puma, Clément Lacour, signed by Adidas, assures in the newspaper L’Équipe that no face had shaken his sales so much since the signing of the artist Rihanna in 2015. The impact has been particularly noticeable 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 that young people now want to sign for Puma, while the brand increases its penetration in some markets, such as Brazil, where its Instagram account has the highest number of followers. Another record attributable to Naymar.
Your image, also to sell ‘casual’ clothing
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, they not only want to sell sportswear and every day they develop their “casual” models more, for which they also use the image of Neymar.
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 of the collection,” he says. The PSG player will also be present in the line they plan to draw on Batman, 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. The Norwegian Erling Haaland, one of the most fashionable players at the time, whose contract with Nike expires, is in negotiations with the German brand, according to the newspaper Bild.