Aug 29, 2012

Fans of the English Football Association may be buying new replica “kits” in the near future.

The Daily Mail (via Portland Business Journal) is reporting that Nike has signed an agreement with the England Football Association to become their official uniform supplier.  Nike would be replacing Umbro — a company that Nike purchased in 2007, and announced they would sell before the end of this year — if the rumors are true.

As the PBJ points out, the move essentially guts Umbro of any of its valuable contracts — Umbro also had a contract to outfit Manchester City F.C., but Nike already stated they would take over that contract next season — and makes anyone question the future viability of the English-based soccer brand.  Umbro had been tied to the English national team since the 1950’s, and were currently under contract with the English FA until 2018.

Umbro’s long standing relationship with English FA, fractured by a mega-conglomerate who may ‘force’ fans to spend money on new replica jerseys…It will be interesting to see how the move is received in England.

Umbro’s current agreement stated that they, and they alone could supply the English team.  But, the English FA was swayed by Nike after they made a proposal, and the company had already announced its plans to sell Umbro back in May.  At least from the outside, it looks like Nike purchased Umbro, failed to see their future viability, and gutted it for all of its worth. Who wants to buy a brand that may be well-known but is devoid of any value?

For Nike, the move helps put them back in the UK forefront, as rival Adidas was prominently displayed during the XXX Olympics, as the official outfitter of the Great Britian.


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