Raheem Sterling is contemplating an offer to be one of the first footballers to sign a personal endorsement to wear Air Jordan football boots, in what could be one of the most lucrative boot deals in history.
The 24-year-old, who started the season with a hat-trick in Manchester City’s 5-0 win at West Ham is in the final year of his current Nike boot deal and is now one of the sought-after commercial properties given his performances on the pitch and his strong public voice. The deal with Air Jordan, who only moved into football one year ago with the branding of the Paris Saint-Germain kit, would open up a new front in the brand battle to dominate the lucrative football market.
The deal on offer could be as much as £100 million to sign Sterling, last season’s Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year, depending on the length of the contract. Air Jordan, a subsidiary of American sportswear company Nike, have not yet marketed football boots but the success of their collaboration with PSG has proved that it could be a growth market. The brand chiefly has endorsements with NBA basketballers, some Major League baseball players and also works with famous music artists.
Although it was by no means the intention behind his decision to speak out, Sterling’s decision last season to challenge the portrayal of young black footballers in the media after having racism directed at him during a game at Stamford Bridge has raised his profile considerably. Nike launched an individual campaign around him shortly afterwards. It followed closely the Nike campaign for Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who protested the killing of young black men by kneeling during the national anthem before games in the United States.