In modern sport, funding is a large key to success and in no sport is that more apparent than football, the ultimate game of the haves and have nots. International football has not escaped the phenomenon with England plowing in money as if it is an endless resource while Ghana’s players insisted on cash only payments at the 2014 World Cup amid fears that they would not be paid otherwise. Wembley Stadium, world-leading salaries and a state-of-the-art football center do not come cheap and the money has to come from somewhere. To give it its due, the FA is excellent when it comes to attracting cash and a five-year, £20m+ ($30m+) Nike deal has provided a fantastic financial boost.
In signing the deal, Nike was not acting altruistically; it too hoped to see its tills ringing and introduced segmented product ranges to help maximize revenues. Nike has experience great success at club level in England but the situation with the England national team appears to be souring and the smart money is now against an extension of the deal that expires in 2018.
Back in the 2013, the deal was announced to great fanfare and both parties were speaking of mutual future success. Fast forward three years and Nike is on the brink of pulling out by way of not extending the deal. England has performed disastrously in the two major tournaments it has worn Nike kits, sales have been disappointing and the landscape at club level has changed. Nike is now having to offer far more to secure or retain deals with the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea and these factors seem to be convincing the powers that be in Oregon that the England deal is in fact not worth continuing. The deal is therefore in jeopardy.
The final outcome remains to be seen, but indications are that Nike is instead choosing to pursue deals with leading European clubs that offer potentially greater sales numbers and much more regular exposure – a strategy that makes perfect sense.