French Football Federation still waiting for Nike to deliver World Cup victory kit
Nike is silent, but the dissatisfaction of its customers still waiting for the France football national team jersey decorated with two World Cup victory stars is palpable. So much so that last week, the President of the French Football Federation (FFF) publicly chided the US sport giant, with which FFF has a €50 million-per-year sponsorship deal until 2026.
“They will be delivered, but with well over a month’s delay, we could have already sold 300,000 jerseys. We will surely sell them before Christmas. But it's hard to keep saying no, the stores are empty, they have run out [of France jerseys],” said FFF President Noël Le Graët, speaking on RTL radio. “I believe we will receive 130,000 jerseys in the next few weeks, and some more before Christmas. It’s such a pity,” he added.
A circumspect statement, but the disappointment was evident. According to financial newspaper Les Echos, only 30,000 jerseys were made available after France won the World Cup in Russia on July 15. Too few compared to the over 300,000 jerseys reportedly pre-ordered. Still according to Les Echos, FFF earns €7 for each jersey sold, out of a retail price of up to €140 each. An earnings loss which is proving costly for FFF which, according to French newspaper Le Figaro, has also had to find an alternative solution, and ask another contractor to embroider a second star on the one-star jerseys in stock to make the fans happy.
Le Figaro also reported that the next jersey delivery is expected for mid-December. But the quantity is expected to be 170,000 units, not enough to meet all the Christmas gift requests.
Nike is meanwhile following its standard practice and is not commenting on the issue, leaving observers to wonder whether this ‘rarity’ is a deliberate marketing strategy or instead a sign of the lack of flexibility of its Asian suppliers. Nike’s share price on Wall Street, with the group's latest quarterly results due soon, should not be affected by this negative publicity coming from France, though the brand may lose the goodwill of French consumers who would be so proud to sport two stars on their jersey.
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