Legend has it that Pele was paid $125,000 for his deal to wear the boots starting with the 1970 World Cup. The contract was sealed in the final between Brazil and Italy when Pele asked a referee for a moment so he could tie his shoe guaranteeing that the TV cameras were pointed at his Pumas.
Professional players now use boot companies as significant means to increase their off the field earnings and will be associated with those who pay well as opposed to the producers of the best shoes. No sportsperson alive would ever disadvantage themselves by sporting inferior footwear so discerning consumers are left to conclude not one branded shoe is better than another. Although one cautionary note here is for the best in the world have their shoes purpose made for them as opposed to the pair you and I will buy over the counter.
Signature shoes i.e. football boots fully personalised with either their name, initials, number or club logo embossed on the boot, are now common place and the ultimate status symbol for stars of the soccer field. In the past the standard way for football boots to be identified has always been the black permanent marker pen, ugly and not very professional. Many retailers now offer various options and colours to personalise football boots by using the very latest embroidery machinery. These are now found across all sports but rarely draw much official attention as long as they comply with the game’s regulations. There was some controversy in the past when conflict between team sponsors and the individual’s desire to self promote their own products. In the FIFA World Cup 2006 (Germany) rivalry between the key sportswear manufacturers, inevitably led to banning of all footwear other than those endorsed by the team’s sponsors. In Germany, the squad was sponsored by adidas and team members were told they must wear adidas boots otherwise they would not play. The German national soccer coach had to remind his players the equipment contract stated players must be completely kitted out in adidas gear. The contest has intensified since FIFA changed the rules and now footwear is the only piece of major equipment that does not have to be produced consistently by the same manufacturer. Team shorts and shirts are contracted to a specific company but individual players are free to wear the shoes they want, even if they are made by the rival of their shirt company.
According to Repucom’s Celebrity DBI tool which measures the perceptions of over 6,500 people in 13 international markets, representing the views of more than 1.5 billion people. The top three most marketable players in the world are: Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo who has an estimated $(US) 9.5m per year deal with Nike; Argentina’s Lionel Messi ; and Spain’s Gerard Piqué . Companies use celebrity endorsement to sell their product because it helps create in the ind of the consumer a strong emotional connection with a brand. Global awareness of an indivudual like Ronaldo.
Given the huge amounts of money at stake it is no surprise shoe companies do almost anything to attract people’s attention to their products. After all there is no doubt a pair of fluorescent boots stand out a lot more than staid black. Stars like Ronaldo,Messi, Neymar and Balotelli are paid undisclosed amouts to wear the shoewear of Nike, Adidas and Puma etc., Each company will do their very best to have their product stand out.
If you were to believe the sale rhetoric company revolutionary technological advantages with each new line of soccer boot. In truth the dominating companies supply similar product as in light weight soccer slippers with emphasis on tread and grip and an uninterrupted sweet spot. New polymer technologies and knitted fabrics are combined to give a comfortable foot protection which in the main withstands the rigor of all weather competition. Soccer shoes are available in high colourways for no other than reason than to sell shoes. The shelf life of a particular model is short (approximately 3 months) and replaced by the next fad. In true consumer traditions of the new line has no real advantage over its predecessor other than it has a different colour or incorporates novelties such as knitted ankle warmers or different coloured boots. Most consumers remain brand loyal, whilst others seek out justification from the marketing techo-gobbledygook, why they must have the latest pair.