LeBron James has previously been limited in wearing Liverpool products given his association to Nike, the NBA All-Star and minority share holder in the Club is now expected to promote the Reds much more visibly following their new deal with the American apparel brand.
When Liverpool were taken to court earlier this year by New Balance, the Reds argued their then-current kit supplier could not match Nike's five-year deal of £30m a year in terms of marketing. The judge ruled in Liverpool's favour, finding that "the New Balance offer on marketing was less favourable to Liverpool FC than the Nike offer". He further stated that, New Balance could not match Nike's offer to use "three non-football global superstar athletes and influencers of the calibre of" Serena Williams, LeBron James and (musician) Drake. Since Liverpool’s Nike jersey was released in early August, this influencer power of Nike has already been evident. For instance, James recently wore the new Nike home jersey on his arrival for the LA Lakers’ NBA game with Oklahoma City Thunder. James' involvement with Liverpool began back in 2011 through his dealings with Fenway Sports Group (FSG). Then at Miami Heat, James struck a partnership with FSG - who had just bought Liverpool - which saw the group become his chief marketing agency. Part of the deal with FSG was that he also acquired a minority 2% stake in the Reds, worth $6.5m. As of May 2019, Forbes estimated Liverpool's value to be $2.13 billion, meaning James' stake would now be worth roughly $43.6 million. And the value may be higher after the club secured its first Premier League title in 30 years. Until now, James had previously been limited in wearing Liverpool products given his association with Nike and the club’s previous kit deal with New Balance. However, given his ‘skin in the game’ and his marketing collateral, you can imagine the serial winner will be doing all he can to push the Reds’ continued commercial success.
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