Rumours are circulating that Raheem Sterling could become the first Premier League soccer player to wear Nike Air Jordan football boots. Since signing with Manchester City from Liverpool in 2015 on a five-year deal worth $60 million, the winger has become one of his club’s most important players. Helping Man City win back-to-back titles with 35 goals scored over the last two seasons, it’s easy to see why Nike Jordan has Raheem Sterling in its sights.
In the final year of his current Nike boot deal, Sterling has reportedly been weighing up a lucrative deal with Jordan Brand that’s said to be worth up to $120 million. Air Jordan is apparently trying to dominate the football market, and see this as its new battlefront. Despite Air Jordan collaborating with Paris Saint-Germain on a number of limited-edition jerseys and trainers for the club last season, this would be the first time the American brand would have designed some soccer cleats.
With his performance on the field in mind, as well as his public voice, Sterling is the ideal candidate for the bid. The 24-year-old has already started the season with a hat-trick in Man City’s 5-0 win over West Ham, and has been vocal about how young black footballers are portrayed in the media after being at the receiving end of racist abuse during a game at Stamford Bridge.
He was involved in a solo Nike campaign shortly after speaking out, which was released soon after the Nike campaign with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Sterling has also been approached by popular men’s grooming brand Gillette, who has previously used big name athletes like David Beckham, and Swedish clothing label H&M. His new contract at Man City until 2023 is worth up to $360,000 a week and he’s already signed a contract to promote the Microsoft Xbox game console and EA Sports, yet his potential earning power from commercial deals continues to grow.
Raheem Sterling aside, leading sportswear brands are constantly battling for the greatest visibility in soccer, with Nike and Adidas still the major players and Puma coming in behind. Adidas sponsors six of soccer’s top teams: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Arsenal, Flamengo and Juventus. Seven top soccer clubs are sponsored by Nike: Barcelona, PSG, Chelsea, Atletico, Tottenham, Roma and Inter Milan, while Puma has sponsored teams like Man City, Dortmund, Milan, Marseille, Valencia and Palmeiras.
Created by Nike in 1984 for Michael Jordan, the Jordan Brand usually endorses NBA basketball stars, as well as some Major League baseball players and has collaborated with famous music artists like Travis Scott and high-end labels such as Comme des Garçons. Nike is the exclusive uniform supplier to the two most popular sports leagues in America, the NFL and NBA. Yet it’s the iconic Adidas logo you’ll see on the uniform of NHL ice hockey players and Major League Soccer athletes, and taking into account soccer’s recent boom in popularity stateside, you can expect the value of its sponsorship to soar in the years to come.