Marcus Rashford is one of England’s most marketable athletes, if not the most. Rashford has earned this title because beyond his lightning-fast pace, clinical finishing, and silky dribbling on the pitch; he is an athlete dedicated to making a positive impact in society.  

Rashford has been sponsored by Nike since he was 11 years old, for 15 years he’s been sporting the brand and now he’s just released his first-ever signature football boot and lifestyle shoe. The Nike Mercurial Rashford signature boots color palette draws inspiration from all the Nike boots Marcus has won during his career as well as graphics representing a sound wave, “a nod to Marcus’s desire to lift others”.

Nike and Rashford collaborated on off-field apparel and accessories mirrored his distinctive style. The collection represents Rashford’s personality and fashion sense, creating a bridge between football culture and everyday life.

Nike Air Max Pulse x Marcus Rashford

The partnership isn’t just about style and sport though. Rashford’s commitment to social causes aligns seamlessly with Nike’s ethos. Together, they’ve embarked on initiatives to positively impact the community through charitable events, community programs, or educational initiatives. Rashford and Nike plan to continue working hand in hand to use their influence for the greater good.

Although you may see many athletes sponsored by Nike, this is still a huge accomplishment because only the elite players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Neymar have had a boot deal with Nike. During COVID-19 Nike dropped most of their athletes and decided to focus more on a select few athletes. 

Football boot deals are often categorized into different tiers based on the player’s profile, marketability, and influence. These tiers help sports brands allocate resources and determine the level of investment they are willing to make in a particular player. The tier criteria may vary between brands but here’s a general overview:

Tier 1 – Global Icons 

Players in this tier are global football icons with immense popularity and influence both on and off the pitch. These are the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar etc. These players often have signature boot lines, and extensive marketing campaigns, and are the face of the brand at a global level.

Tier 2 – National Stars and Emerging Global Talents. 

This is where Marcus Rashford ranks. Tier 2 footballers are players who may have different global recognition than Tier 1 but are national stars or emerging talents with significant potential. These are the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland. They receive prominent marketing within their regions, may have signature boots, and contribute to the brand’s global presence.

Tier 3 – Regional Ambassadors. 

These players have strong regional influence, often representing specific markets or regions. Players who are stars in their respective leagues or countries are the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Declan Rice etc. They may have localized marketing campaigns, and limited edition boots for regional releases, and contribute to the brand’s presence in specific markets.

Tier 4 – Rising Stars and Young Prospects. 

These young, promising players may not have achieved star status but show potential for future success. These are talented players who have recently gained attention, for example, the likes of Real Madrid-bound striker Endrick recently signed a deal with US brand New Balance to become the new face of the brand. 

We’re seeing a trend of footballers no longer signing boot deals. A boot deal may limit the opportunities for a player to sign additional deals with other brands for merchandise. Although the financial benefits can be very enticing, some athletes choose to wear whatever they like, whenever they like, without the restriction of a brand. 

Rashford’s partnership with Nike represents a deeper kind of brand partnership though. It’s more than just money, it’s a partnership that blends sport, style, and social impact perfectly. Rather than just getting paid to wear brand boots, athletes should seek to form deeper relationships and partnerships with brands they sign up for. This may mean going to a smaller or upcoming brand like Sketchers signing with Brentford’s Josh Da Silva or Eddie Nketiah signing with Under Armour, two brands that are fairly new to the football space. These athletes will have more flexibility to be involved in activities that will be beneficial to both parties. 

By- Shubomi


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