Nike, the world’s largest sportswear company, agreed a £285m deal for Umbro this week.
Manchester-based Umbro will use its retained agency Brunswick, which worked on the company’s listing three years ago (PRWeek, 7 May 2004).
Citigate financial executive director Simon Rigby heads the account, reporting to Nike UK head of corporate comms Charlie Brooks.
The agency will have to reassure media and investors that the future of the brand is safe, and that its relationship with the Football Association (FA) and the England team will not be affected.
In 2006, Umbro made annual revenues of £149.5m. This year the firm has seen disappointing England kit sales, a decline that mirrors the England team’s fortunes in the UEFA European Football Championship.
However, the white England shirt is the world’s most popular kit, and is the prim-ary reason behind Nike’s takeover of the brand.
The FA released a statement saying it supported the deal. ‘Nike has provided firm assurances that the FA’s relationship with Umbro will be protected and enhanced,’ said FA CEO Brian Barwick. ‘We look forward to working closely with both companies and moving forward.’
Umbro has underperformed in recent years, having lost its Chelsea and Manchester United kit deals – the latter to Nike. Umbro also makes boots for Michael Owen and Portuguese midfielder Deco.
Nike is competing with rival Adidas, which has good links with football’s governing body FIFA.