New Balance are in a fight to retain their lucrative contract as Liverpool’s kit suppliers as they look to take the European champions to London’s High Court over prolonging their partnership.
Sportswear giants Nike are set to be announced as the Reds’ new suppliers from next season, after agreeing a British record deal worth up to £80million per year, eclipsing Manchester United’s huge £75m contract with adidas. However, New Balance are desperate to continue as kit suppliers and claim they have a clause to match Nike’s offer and stay on past May 2020.
The European Champions have been in discussions with all the leading sports manufacturers – including adidas and Puma – since last Christmas, having indicated to their current suppliers, New Balance, that they wanted to explore alternatives.
Liverpool’s current £45m-a-year terms with New Balance expire next June and Anfield officials have felt for some time they were able to command improved figures elsewhere with the club’s stock have risen dramatically in the last two seasons.
Liverpool informed New Balance that they were looking elsewhere due to their improved stature in the game following two successful seasons under Jurgen Klopp. A Liverpool spokesman told The Athletic: ‘We can confirm that our kit supplier, New Balance, has commenced a legal dispute against the club. We will not be making any further comment during these legal proceedings.’ While New Balance reportedly claimed that they would match Nike’s offer, Liverpool believe their current suppliers wouldn’t be able to match Nike’s global distribution network.
The Reds are eager to capitalise on their success and know that Nike’s reach will greatly help them in the key markets around the world. New Balance filed for the case on September 10.
A statement from New Balance read: ‘New Balance is proud to be the official kit sponsor of Liverpool Football Club. Since 2011, when we entered into a record breaking sponsorship with the club, we have delivered two of the biggest selling home kits for Liverpool fans and we continue to match the ambition and achievements of the club as it grows from strength to strength.
‘As a long standing and committed sponsor, we are keen to continue our strong partnership with Liverpool Football Club and renew our agreement in 2020.
In line with our current contract, we have matched the offer made by Nike. ‘As part of the contract renewal process, LFC has called into question elements of the agreement and as such we are asking the courts for clarity on this case. Both we and the club are keen to resolve any contractual challenges as quickly as possible and have agreed to an expedited process in the courts.
‘New Balance is eager and confident to maintain its sponsorship of Liverpool Football Club and we look forward to continuing our record of success as LFC’s playing kit provider.’
Manchester United signed a 10-year contract with adidas in 2014 that is worth £750m, while Premier League champions Manchester City agreed terms worth £650m with Puma in February. Barcelona (Nike, £100m-a-year) and Real Madrid (£98m per season, adidas) are the only clubs in the world who have bigger agreements at present than those in the Premier League.