The Greatest Marketing Deal in Sports History

white and black soccer ball on grass field
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash
The greatest marketing deal in sports history happened 50 years ago. This is the story of how two brothers became bitter rivals, built multi-billion-dollar businesses, and why a $120,000 payment will be remembered forever. Time for a thread πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
3) As the company began to grow, the relationship between the Dassler brothers deteriorated. In 1943, American soldiers picked up Rudolf, accusing him of being a Waffen SS member β€” the military branch of the Nazi Party. Certain his brother turned him in, Rudolf was furious.
6) As athlete endorsements became popular, Adidas & Puma created the “Pele Pact.” Through the Pele Pact, both parties agreed not to sign Pele β€” believing a bidding war would bankrupt them both. But in 1970, Puma brokered one of the smartest marketing plays of all time.
7) Before a 1970 World Cup quarter-final match between Brazil & Peru, Puma approached Pele with a $120,000 offer β€” or almost $1M once adjusted for inflation. The kicker? Puma requested Pele walk to midfield seconds before kick-off & ask the official for time to tie his shoes.
10) Today, 50 years after Puma secretly signed Pele, the citizens of their hometown, Herzogenaurach, take brand loyalty to new levels. Shopkeepers favor one brand and refuse to serve customers wearing the other, regardless of the circumstances. As they say, people don’t forget.
12) Enjoyed this thread? You should follow me @JoePompliano. I tweet interesting stories about the money and business behind sports every day.
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