Soccer-Germany's Puma ousts Nike as Arsenal kit supplier
LONDON Jan 27 (Reuters) - Puma will become the kit supplier to English soccer club Arsenal from July 1, the German sportswear company said on Monday, in a deal worth more than 30 million pounds ($49.5 million) a year to the Premier League leaders.
Puma is ousting U.S. group Nike which has provided Arsenal's red and white shirts for the past two decades.
The agreement shows Puma's determination to re-establish itself as a core sports brand under new CEO Bjoern Gulden after moving more into lifestyle and fashion.
Puma has also acquired the rights to produce other branded Arsenal merchandise that will be sold to fans around the world.
Financial details were not disclosed but Puma said the deal was the biggest ever for both itself and Arsenal.
In 2012, Arsenal signed a contract renewal with airlines Emirates for shirt and stadium sponsorship worth 150 million pounds over five years.
Puma, which supplies kit to German soccer club Borussia Dortmund and national teams including Italy, said it was aiming to establish itself as the clear number-three soccer brand.
Adidas and Nike dominate a global soccer market worth an estimated 4.5 billion euros per year, and U.S. brands such as Under Armour and Warrior have also been expanding in the sport.
"Arsenal represents a major commercial and marketing opportunity to reinforce Puma's credibility as a global sports brand," Gulden said in a statement.
The Puma deal is no surprise after news of it leaked on social media late last year. However, Arsenal fans are likely to press the club to spend heavily before the player transfer window closes at the end of the month to boost the team's push for a first trophy since 2005.
Nike remain the kit suppliers to Manchester United and Manchester City.
The Nike deal was worth 38 million pounds for United in 2012-13, including the club's share of profits from merchandise sales. United and Nike are in negotiations on a new deal.
($1 = 0.6060 British pounds) (Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by John Stonestreet)