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Why did Liverpool leave New Balance for Nike in 2020?

Liverpool left a deal with New Balance in 2020 to join forces with Nike. But why exactly did the Reds make that move?

Nike and Liverpool unveiled their home kit for the 2021/22 season today. It received a ‘mixed’ reception, to put it mildly. Fans weren’t entirely impressed with the effort.

And if we’re being honest, this is back-to-back years now of Nike kits that aren’t particularly special. They’re certainly a world away from the New Balance kits Liverpool had for five years.

So why exactly did Liverpool leave New Balance for a deal with Nike?

Liverpool leave New Balance for Nike

Back in 2019, Liverpool agreed a deal with Nike. But things quickly got complicated.

The new deal was worth £30m-a-year, which was £10m less than their deal with New Balance. Important, NB had a clause in their contract that allowed them to renew as long as they matched a competitors offer.

Which they did. Liverpool, though, wouldn’t allow it and this led to a court case later that year.

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New Balance’s claim was simple – they matched the Nike offer. In fact, they were offering more money than the American giant.

But Liverpool saw things differently. While New Balance might match it monetarily, they couldn’t offer the same level of marketing. Nike’s global presence – as well as their commitment to use American stars to advertise the kits – was worth more in the long-run.

This led to a major court case that Liverpool won.

The judge ruled that “the New Balance offer on marketing was less favourable to Liverpool FC than the Nike offer”. “Liverpool FC is not obliged to enter into a new agreement with New Balance,” he found.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

And so Liverpool moved forward with Nike on the basis that they’d boost the club’s brand globally, far beyond anything New Balance could accomplish.

RTK’s thoughts

So, really, we couldn’t care less about global branding and marketing – we’d just like the kits to looks nice. Nike’s just don’t, in our opinion.

In fact, the orange trim on this new one just makes it look like an AS Roma kit. It certainly doesn’t come across as a Liverpool one.

When you think back through the years, you think of iconic Liverpool kits. We just can’t see these Nike efforts even being iconic. Hopefully, the extra money is there, then, because from a fan perspective, the Nike deal has been pretty dull.

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