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What's going on between Barça and Nike?

The relationship between the American brand and the Catalan team seems to be at historic lows due to the new shirt

What's going on between Barça and Nike? The relationship between the American brand and the Catalan team seems to be at historic lows due to the new shirt

Yesterday Nike suddenly put on sale on its website the Barcelona home kit for the 2020/2021 season, but the fact that the Catalans have not in the least ''pushed'' their new shirt on the website or on social networks, and that not even an ad hoc presentation was dedicated to her, it did not go unnoticed.

Barcelona represents the top club to which Nike has always paid a lot of attention - and funds - for its marketing campaigns to present the new jerseys and seeing the contrasting behavior of two parties who have always worked ''shoulder to shoulder'' is actually strange and leads to think that something is not going as expected.

Indeed, it seems that the relations between Barça and Nike are at an all-time low due to an error by the American brand: a few days ago in fact all the Blaugrana shirts already produced (and delivered in Barcelona) were withdrawn in a ''replica'' version 'due to a not indifferent production error, that is the loss of color of the fabric when it comes into contact with liquids, obviously including sweat and water.

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/ Finalmente è arrivata la maglia del @fcbarcelona. Dopo il ritardo dovuto ad un difetto di fabbricazione che portava il kit a sbiadirsi quando entrava a contatto con il sudore, @nike lancia una delle maglie più attese della stagione 2020-21, o forse dobbiamo dire 2010-11. Sì, perché la maglia del Barça riprende in tutto e per tutto la divisa di una delle più gloriose annate dei blaugrana. Il colletto giallo, il ritorno delle "Blue and Garnet" stripes sono tutti elementi già visti, uniti alla nuova tecnologia e al nuovo design VaporKnit di @nikefootball. Link in bio per scoprire di più. - The @fcbarcelona shirt has finally arrived. After the delay due to a manufacturing defect that caused the kit to fade when it came in contact with sweat, @nike launches one of the most anticipated shirts of the 2020-21 season. The kit seems an evident homage to the uniform of the 2010-11 season, one of the most glorious vintages of the Blaugrana. The yellow collar, the return of the "Blue and Garnet" stripes are all elements already seen, combined with the new technology and the new VaporKnit design by @nikefootball. Link in bio to find out more. #nsssports

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Making a comparison with historians of the same period of the year, the Catalan club calculates that in the next two months it would have earned between 15 and 25 million euros through the sale of the items of the 2020/2021 season, revenues inclusive of the six physical stores in Barcelona and e-commerce. Considering that due to the drop in tourism and the post-coronavirus effect, Barça would still have to face a significant loss, it was expected that at least the marketing process of its products would be successful, which will not happen given that it is expected that the "new" kits will not be delivered until September.

For this reason, according to indiscretions, some senior Catalan executives have proved uncompromising towards Nike, asking to anticipate the loss forecast and threatening to bring them to trial if their technical sponsor was unable to remedy the great economic consequences caused by this mistake, which is why this week there will be a new conversation between the multinational leader of the sportswear sector and Barça.

Nike has been a technical sponsor of the blaugrana since 1998, with a contract renewed in 2016 - until 2026 - for the record figure of £120 million per year, which had brought enthusiasm on both sides, including that of former president Nike Trevor Edwards who had commented:
''Barcelona is one of the largest football clubs in the world, which has inspired millions of sports fans and we are extremely proud to continue our partnership together. Our deep relationship with them extends Nike's leadership position in football and we are excited about the opportunity to further grow the world's most global sport''.

Indeed, at the time of the partnership's re-discussion, Barcelona was the second most valuable team in the world: for Forbes in 2016 the overall company value of 3.56 billion dollars, second only to Real Madrid which was worth 3 instead, 65. But four years later the hierarchies changed, both in terms of brand appeal - where Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester City took important steps - and in terms of the team itself: if, at the time, the trio Messi-Suarez-Neymar represented the strongest attack in the world, to date it is not already like that, with Neymar who has gone to PSG for two years, Suarez who is no longer the golden shoe that we were used to seeing and with Messi showing more and more discontent when it comes to dealing with the Catalan leadership, so much so that it has interrupted the discussion regarding its contract renewal and has left to presume a possible opening towards other championships.

That it is difficult to deal with a superpower of world football for the last 20 years was certain, but now the Blaugrana are questioning the only two certainties on which they could have aimed for the next few years, Messi and Nike. Could the turnaround time come?