Jurgen Klopp has signed a personal endorsement deal with Adidas that underlines his unique commercial appeal – in the same summer that Liverpool will begin their lucrative kit deal with the German sportswear company’s key rival, Nike.
Klopp, 53, has become one of the game’s most marketable figures in the wake of the last two seasons at Liverpool in which he has delivered the Champions League and the Premier League titles, and emerged as the key figure in the club’s resurgence. The German coach has previously worn New Balance footwear on the touchline at Anfield – supplied by the club’s previous kit manufacturer – but Adidas has now stepped in to try to claim some of the Klopp brand for itself.
Nike and Adidas have long been engaged in a battle for commercial supremacy across the world game with the leading players tending to wear boots made by one or the other sportswear giant. Endorsement deals for managers are rare, however, with Jose Mourinho the only other coach with a long-term high-profile association with a major manufacturer - also Adidas in his case. The tendency has been for both Nike and Adidas to focus on players and collaborations with other figures from the music world to promote their brands.
Klopp has become one of the most marketable figures in the English game for his success with Liverpool but also his personality away from the game. His sense of humour as well as his willingness to engage in discussion away from football – Brexit and, more recently, the British government’s handling of the Covid crisis among others – has made him a relatable figure for sponsors and brands.
He has recently fronted a British campaign for the German beer Erdinger. In the past in his coaching career in Germany, he was a familiar figure in commercial breaks for television viewers, advertising cars, chocolate and biscuits, among other things. As well as his success at Mainz and then Borussia Dortmund, he was also a very successful television pundit during the 2006 World Cup finals held in Germany.
In October, Liverpool won a high court battle to end their previous kit supplier deal with New Balance without the sportswear company being able to match the terms of the new deal with Nike. Under New Balance, Liverpool earned a guaranteed £45 million a year. The Nike deal guarantees less than that annually – around £30 million - but will offer much bigger rewards in the long-term, the club believe, through its capability to generate greater sales.
The partnership between Liverpool and Nike will be the first between the two and the new home kit was released over the weekend. Adidas are expected to make an announcement soon about Klopp.