Puma, the major German sports apparel brand, has today agreed a new long-term ball supply partnership with English soccer's English Football League.
Puma will be the official match ball supplier of all EFL competitions – the Championship, League One, League Two, the League Cup and the EFL Trophy – from the start of the 2021-22 season in August,
Aside from the standard match ball, specific designs have been created for poor-visibility conditions, as well as for the League Cup and EFL Trophy.
Puma replaces Mitre, the UK sports equipment company which had been the EFL’s official match ball supplier for the last 45 years.
Ben Hughes, general manager of Puma UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the English Football League… With 1,891 games next season, we can’t wait to play our part with product expertise and innovation that makes Puma one of the world’s most trusted sports brands.”
Ben Wright, the EFL’s chief commercial officer, added: “As a well-established global brand, we’re excited to see this new product used across all EFL competitions during 2021-22 and in future seasons.”
Aside from its partnership with the EFL, Puma also has partnerships with numerous clubs in the three EFL divisions, including Barnsley, Rotherham and Blackpool.
There are also tie-ups with Manchester United and Crystal Palace in the top-tier Premier League.
Outside the UK, Puma is the match ball supplier for top-tier soccer leagues including Spain’s LaLiga.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that the 72 EFL clubs secured over £42 million ($59.5 million) in revenue in the 2020-21 campaign through the iFollow streaming service, the platform which allows fans to watch live streaming coverage of matches.
Fans of EFL clubs either paid £10 for each individual match on iFollow, or had the cost of their already-paid season tickets used to subsidise the same service, as they were unable to attend the vast majority of matches because of coronavirus-related restrictions.
The EFL has recorded data showing that over 360,000 fans in 175 different countries used the service to watch their team play – with 1,659 games in total being streamed (games shown live by domestic broadcast partner Sky Sports were not made available through iFollow).
Norwich City, the eventual winners of the second-tier Championship, were one of the most-watched teams, along with Nottingham Forest.
Sky, which has a five-year rights deal with the EFL worth £595 million, agreed to the continued live streaming on iFollow last season to provide a financial boost for clubs deprived of the usual matchday revenue.