Nike go long with record US Soccer deal

November 10 – Nike have agreed a record long term deal with the U.S. Soccer Federation, reported to be a 10-year agreement and one of Nike’s largest commitments to a national federation.

Nike have been a partner of the USSF since 1995. The extended deal emphasises inclusivity as well as promoting – “elevating” – the women’s game domestically and globally.

The deal will take Nike through the 2026 World Cup that will be primarily hosted in the US.

The partnership will cover all the senior women’s and men’s teams, all youth teams, as well as paralympic, futsal and beach soccer teams. Surprisingly in the market that has trumpeted financial transparency on a global scale in football, and where the Nike has come under federal scrutiny for its dealmaking with sports federations, no value was given for the agreement.

“This strategic partnership is a sign of soccer’s importance in the United States and the value that both Nike and U.S. Soccer place in each other,” said USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone.

“To continue this partnership on such a high level, to continue to pursue the vitally important goals we both share and to have access to resources that will boost all areas of the Federation, are things that make us feel extremely positive about the future of soccer in the United States.”

The deal announcement went to the extent of naming four “important pillars designed to drive exponential growth for the game and positive social change.”

They included driving the profile of the women’s game and in what looks to be a poke at the US youth soccer club’s pay-to-pay system, increasing inclusivity through “eliminating barriers to entry while impacting the grassroots ecosystem at scale”. The thriving US club soccer community will be looking at what this potentially could mean with interest.

Nike and the USSF did stop short of saving the world’s climate crisis but did specify as one of their pillars ‘Better Planet’ via the “showcasing sustainability efforts that contribute to meaningful change”; as well as the slightly more nebulous pillar titled “Sport of the Future – Driving cultural relevancy through content, art and lifestyle”.

Sticking to football, Becca Kerr, Nike VP and GM of North America Women’s, said: “Nike looks forward to building on our more than 25-year history with U.S. Soccer to shape the future of sport at all levels. We want more kids – especially girls – to fall in love with sport because they had positive early experiences with soccer. Growing the game starts with investing in inclusivity.”

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