Liverpool and Nike are about to make their next move and special guest could be involved

Liverpool’s partnership with Nike is set expand once more with a new line of trainers set to be launched.

The Reds and Nike partnered officially at the start of last season following a lengthy battle to make the switch away from New Balance that had to be resolved through the High Court, and the power of the US sporting giant’s marketing potential and reach was a key factor in Liverpool wanting to link up.

New kits and training gear are all par for the course, and Nike have delivered some major wins on that front within the first year, but such is the marketability of the club globally and the power of Nike as a brand that different avenues have been explored.

The latest avenue is one that looks set to see Nike produce a special edition Liverpool version of the popular Air Huarache.

Images have surfaced online of the new trainers, which are predominantly white with red and white cheques on the top of the shoe, while a yellow stripe runs down the tongue. On the heel tab reads YNWA to abbreviate the club’s motto ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

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While no date has been set for the release of the trainers, Input Magazine claim that it could be before the end of the year.

Nike and Liverpool have previous form for producing branded footwear, with a Reds version of Nike’s classic Air Max 95 trainer having sold out, while in 2012 a pair of LeBron 9 Lows were released in Liverpool colours to celebrate the investment of basketball icon LeBron James into Liverpool.

James is Nike’s biggest client on a $1bn lifetime deal with the firm. He is also a Liverpool fan and partner in Reds owners Fenway Sports Group after converting his two per cent stake in Liverpool into one per cent of FSG earlier this year following the $750m investment deal from RedBird Capital Partners.

James has often been seen sporting Nike’s Liverpool attire, most recently wearing a training top and bottoms for the opening of his LeBron James Innovation Centre at Nike’s Oregon headquarters.

So huge is James’ global profile he gives Liverpool reach into markets and demographics they may not have been able to so easily access otherwise.

Liverpool Nike Air Huaraches

FSG have also invested, along with Nike and RedBird, in James’ $725m valued business, SpringHill Entertainment.

It’s likely that before any general release of the Liverpool Air Huarache’s that they will first be seen, rather prominently, on the feet of James and made visible to his hundreds of millions of social media followers.

The Liverpool deal with Nike is seen as a game changer by the Reds, a way of them being able to bridge the gap between what they were getting with New Balance and closer to the kind of £75m per year deals that Manchester United enjoy with Adidas.

The Reds receive a guaranteed £30m per year from Nike but get 20 per cent royalties on the sale of Liverpool-branded Nike merchandise, meaning that the successful push of a new line of Reds trainers through Nike will have a direct impact on the finances of the football club.

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Speaking to the ECHO, Liverpool’s commercial director Matt Scammell said: “It’s still early days for the Nike relationship and of course COVID has had an impact.

“The impact on physical retail around the world is significant.

“You look at a club like Liverpool, taking our example we have an enormous retail capability at Anfield itself, one that has historically been very successful in terms of getting product into the hands of fans. Likewise we have other retail outlets around the world.

“The COVID impact cannot be underestimated, having said that I think Nike is going to put us in a great spot for a number of different reasons.

“It has accelerated its direct to consumer side of the business and a brand the size of Nike is very well placed to do that. Likewise, as we start to come out of COVID, having those retail capabilities around the world that Nike has is going to be massive for us.

Liverpool and Nike are set to launch a new trainer

“I had a chat with Mike Cox who heads up our retail and merchandising proposition. They have achieved record global sales versus the previous six years. So since FSG has owned the club we have delivered record sales with working with Nike.

“They are finding ways to engage with the global fanbase that we have never done before. If you look at our growth, a large portion of that with Nike is coming from non-EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) regions.

“I don’t want to speak in too much detail in an area that isn’t part of my remit but it feels like that will be an opportunity that Nike will be particularly strong in fulfilling the desires of fans in new markets.

“We are a global club, our fans are everywhere and they want Liverpool product in their hands. Having a brand like Nike involved that has that global distribution experience of marketing that product around the world will be enormously important for us as the partnership progresses.”

About the author: Mark Witcher

Typical thinker. Devoted web specialist. Friendly troublemaker. Zombie maven. Music junkie. Twitter guru.

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