Could Sheffield United consider establishing their own 'in house' kit supplier despite extending agreement with Adidas?
Sheffield United are expected to investigate the possibility of changing their kit manufacturer if they are promoted next season, with the option of bringing production ‘in-house’ also being considered, after agreeing a short term extension to their partnership with adidas.
The deal with the German corporation had been scheduled to end this summer but will now run for at least another 12 months, a statement published on the club’s official website has confirmed.
The decision to only make a commitment for a further year is significant, meaning United could be in a position to broker a more favourable arrangement should they regain Premier League status at the first attempt under new manager Slavisa Jokanovic.
But it also buys officials at Bramall Lane time to explore the viability of producing their own appareil; something sister club Beerschot already do in Belgium. The success of the project is likely to be the subject of much interest at United World - the umbrella organisation which also includes Chateauroux, Kerala United, Al-Hilal United and United themselves - with the idea of rolling it out across the entire UW network thought to attract some members of owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s inner circle.
Reflecting upon their relationship with adidas, United’s chief executive Steve Bettis said: “We are happy to be extending our kit sponsorship with adidas. They are an excellent partner for the football club and we feel the quality of kit they provide across all areas of the business from the first team through to our retail operation is exceptional.”
Kit deals differ from traditional sponsorships in that they effectively see companies such as adidas broker a fee for the right to use a team’s colours, logo and other emblems on their own clothing products. United have not revealed how much adidas are paying to cover the 2021/22 campaign. But it will be lower than the sums they received to cover the past two seasons, when the global reach of the PL made them a much more attractive proposition within the corporate world.
Despite the obvious challenges, both in terms of logistics and desirability, it is for precisely this reason that UW could choose to roll out the Beerschot model across its entire operation.
Kerala United, one of the most recent additions to the UW family, invited their supporters to help design the new playing and training strips via their social media channels.
Prince Abdullah’s business advisors would attempt to gauge how interested United supporters might be in purchasing the replica jerseys of other UW members before reaching a final view on the viability of producing their own sporting and leisure wear products.
If they are promoted next season, United privately hope some of adidas’ established competitors could be tempted to make counter-offers of their own.
“We are immensely proud of our on-going association with Sheffield United Football Club and are delighted to be extending our partnership,” a spokesperson for adidas said. “The club has experienced an exciting few years whilst playing in our kit, impressing football fans across the world, and we look forward to building on that success in the season to come as committed supporters of the football club and their fans.”