When Roma first signed with Nike in 2013, it was a signal of intent from Roma's new owners. An American ownership group linking up with an American company that just happened to be the biggest sporting goods manufacturer in the world meant big things for the club's visibility and accessibility. No longer would fans outside of Europe have to scout the internet to find skin tight Kappa shirts, Roma's marriage to Nike made the club's kits and training gear more widely available and far easier to purchase.
Despite that increased brand recognition and accessibility, Roma were never fully satisfied with their Nike partnership, changing the terms of the deal several years into their decade long pact, essentially taking over the merchandising aspect of the deal, which had previously belonged to Nike with Roma receiving a certain percentage of the profits. In essence, Pallotta wasn't happy with the level of production and the terms of the distribution deal with Nike and sought to wrest those aspects back from the manufacturer.
But once that new wrinkle was sorted out, Roma seemed set to reap more revenue from their kit deal with Nike. So it was somewhat surprising a few weeks ago when we caught wind that this marriage might be heading for divorce.
And, well, here you have it:
Earlier today, Roma officially announced they're terminating their technical sponsorship with Nike a few years earlier than expected. After initially signing a ten year deal with Nike in 2013, Roma have decided to sever ties with Nike at the end of this season, though Nike will still outfit the club through the 2020-2021 season.
On their decision to terminate the relationship, Roma's Chief Operating Officer Francesco Calvo kept it rather brief: “The early termination of the commercial agreement will allow AS Roma to explore new opportunities in the equipment and licensing space.“
With Nike making next season's kits, I suspect we won't know Roma's new outfitter for several more months, but stick with us later as we run through some replacement options.