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Five years ago, New Balance made its comeback in football. After a few months of food shortages, the American brand seems to be in working order to become an actor that matters again.
« New Balance returns to football “. It is with these few words that we announced the return of NB to the world of football on February 7, 2015. Thanks to the signing of many players such as Aaron Ramsey, Adnan Januzaj, Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri, Marouane Fellaini, Tim Cahill, Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Fernando and Nikica Jelavic, the American brand wanted to offer itself a real gateway into a universe where it was present at the end of the 90s and after having set up a range of crampons in the years 80. Five years later, many clubs have been under contract with New Balance (Liverpool, Nantes, Lille, Porto, etc…) and Sadio Mané has become the new face of its communication. A good development in five years, but which has taken a lead in the wing over the past two years with the end of the contract with the Reds and increasingly low visibility on the green rectangle. While we thought NB Football was in the trough of the wave, it is ultimately the adage “to step back to better jump” which could best correspond to the strategy that seems to be emerging.
Sterling, Saka, Ndombélé, Calvert-Lewin: the new faces of New Balance?
By the time Liverpool rose to the roof of Europe and Sadio Mané was probably at the top of his game, New Balance seemed to have made the right choice by arriving at the Mersey club and teaming up with their star striker . However, a few months later and with the wire of the legal tension between Nike and NB Football concerning the contract of equipment suppliers of the Reds, all seemed to finally escape and one even thought to see Sadio Mané give in to the sirens of his former brand Nike. It was during this same dark period that our infographic on the cleats of 2,500 players from the five major championships showed that NB Football was only visible at the feet of four players… A presence far too weak and above all a Sadio Mané too much lonely headliner. But that could well change in the weeks and months to come …
In today’s world, to sell cleats and establish your brand of football boots, there is only one method: sponsor players! Since the start of their footballing adventure, Nike has understood this perfectly, just like adidas for years. Previously considered the third brand of cleats, Puma Football recently changed status by enlisting the services of Neymar who now comes to support players like Griezmann and Aguero as brand ambassador, and Lewandowski has even been seen with the Puma Ultra in recent days. To once again become an important brand in the cleats market, New Balance must once again become a visible brand on the pitch and for that, it may well be that the strategy passes once again through the Premier League. As in 2015 when the ambassadors were playing in England, the new faces of New Balance could well be called Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tanguy Ndombélé! What largely reshuffle the cards.
Sergio Ramos, Aaron Ramsey: when the stars test New Balance crampons
To date none of these three players are officially committed with NB but they have all worn a pair of New Balance crampons for several weeks already, which can clearly translate into fully engaged discussions between the different parties. In addition to the qualities of Bukayo Saka and Tanguy Ndombélé, it is however undeniable that if New Balance were to enlist the services of a player like Raheem Sterling, the general public’s view of the brand’s models would be totally different. Young, active on social networks, committed and above all a good footballer, Raheem Sterling alone has the assets of the ideal profile of a brand in full recovery. Currently with a full black version of what seems to be the beginnings of Furon v7, Sterling is still far from signing with NB Football but still further from engaging with another supplier.
But the past few weeks have also been full of surprises as players like Sergio Ramos and Aaron Ramsey have been caught training with a pair of New Balance Tekela v3s. Prestigious players and playing in top clubs which again prove that the brand seems to be aiming wide to expand its circle of ambassadors. Since then, the two players have not been seen with these shoes anymore but the fact of wearing them for a training session does indeed show that we will have to rely on NB Football products.
Roma as a new top club?
As we have seen, New Balance could concretely reshuffle the cards of Sports Marketing. But in addition to the crampons, the American brand could also bounce back as a technical partner of a club. Since the end of the contract, the equipment manufacturer has been present alongside LOSC, FC Porto, Atletico Bilbao and Standard de Liège. Obviously prestigious clubs but which could be joined by a club of a different scope since AS Roma could join the New Balance family. While Liverpool have taken over the leadership of Nike, the opposite path could happen for Roma. Indeed, the club of the Louve recently announced to have ended the contract which engaged it with the mark with the comma and it is New Balance which would seem to hold the cord to replace it.
If by any chance New Balance manages to sign top players and a prestigious club like Roma, there is no doubt that it should be counted on in the months to come. The end of the year and the start of 2021 should tell us more about New Balance Football’s future and ambitions.