After months of speculation and uncertainty, Liverpool officially have a new kit supplier today as New Balance have lost their court case, paving the way for American rival Nike to take over as manufacturer starting with the 2020-21 season.
Despite ruling that New Balance attempted to match Nike’s offer in good faith, it was ruled that the club’s current kit supplier’s effort fell short. Their offer did not—due largely to the promise of celebrity endorsements tied to the Nike deal—match Nike’s.
New Balance tried to argue that the marketing value of Nike-sponsored celebrities was too nebulous a concept to measure and as a result they had no need to match—and while the judge admitted it was nebulous, nebulous does not equal unmeasurable.
“I accept the calbre of the named athletes can be measured in a number of ways but it would be unrealistic [to say that it] can not be measured,” said Mr Justice Teare. “I have therefore concluded that the New Balance offer on marketing was less favourable.”
Further, New Balance’s requests to appeal the verdict were denied, with Teare stating he was “not persuaded there is a real prospect of success” should they be allowed to appeal today’s verdict and drag the case out any further.
“Liverpool FC is pleased with the Judge’s decision,” read a statement from the club shortly after the ruling was made. “We will continue with New Balance for the current season [while] preparing next season’s Liverpool kits with our new supplier.”