Making sense of Manchester City’s groundbreaking Puma deal

A general view of the Etihad Stadium prior to the beginning of the match Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium 10-02-2019 . (Photo by Richard Sellers/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)
A general view of the Etihad Stadium prior to the beginning of the match Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium 10-02-2019 . (Photo by Richard Sellers/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images) /

City Football Group have created an unparalleled global sporting empire that culminated in Tuesday’s announcement.

Manchester City’s historic 10 year, £650 million kit deal with Puma officially planted their stake in the ground as one of European football’s most influential and powerful clubs. City now hold the third-most valuable kit deal in the world based on annual revenue, trailing only crosstown rivals Manchester United’s contract with Adidas (£73 million) and Nike’s FC Barcelona deal (£132 million).

It’s a remarkable achievement in just over a decade for City Football Group, with the deal also covering other clubs under the City umbrella, including Melbourne City FC, Girona FC, and affiliates in Uruguay and China. The deal represents a massive step up in revenue from the previous Nike deal, which had paid the club just £12 million annually since 2012.

If Sheikh Mansour’s vision of a unique global footballing superpower was not already achieved through City’s success on the pitch, this unprecedented economic consolidation model has helped the club break the financial glass ceiling of Europe’s elite.

Ten years ago, it would be unthinkable to suggest that one day Manchester City would dwarf the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal in terms of economic clout. The achievement speaks to the forward-minded vision of City’s ownership group that has redefined a modern footballing landscape characterized by skyrocketing television and sponsorship revenue.

City’s local rivals Manchester United could soon follow suit, with a rumored takeover bid led by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The City model has proven itself to be extremely profitable, and could therefore set the standard for Europe’s giants in the years to come.

City’s ground-up investment and innovation has successfully taken the club from the status of English football’s also-rans to one of the world’s premier brands from a marketing standpoint. Puma, one of the biggest names in the sport, trusted in the club’s direction and vision to the point that it elected to make City its flagship team.

Both organizations continue to gear themselves toward the future, with Puma’s forward-thinking ambition to set a new standard for apparel partnerships matching the Citizens’ desire for European domination. One such example of Puma’s innovative concepts was City manager Pep Guardiola’s involvement in the kit design process.  

While the deal served as a coronation of City’s growth as a football club, it also represented a statement from Puma, an apparel brand that has fallen far behind the superpowers of Nike and Adidas over the last decade.

"“Puma’s partnership with City Football Group is the largest deal that we have ever done – both in scope and ambition,” Bjørn Gulden, CEO of Puma said in a statement. “We are very excited to partner with City Football Group, whose success, ambition and drive for innovation has seen them setting new standards, on and off the field. We look forward to building the most innovative partnership in football by redefining the sports partnership model both on and off the pitch.”"

The German outfitter has been consolidating some of world football’s biggest brands in recent years, adding Arsenal, AC Milan, and now Manchester City from its competitors. City could be the first step in a greater master plan, with Puma rumored to be the frontrunners to take over Atlético Madrid, Valencia, and Palmeiras.

Next. Why Man City's Leroy Sané Struggles to Start. dark

The landmark deal represents a massive step in the development of both City and Puma, and in conjunction the two have the opportunity to alter the sport’s landscape for the foreseeable future both on the pitch and from an economic perspective.