Since relaunching their basketball division in 2018, PUMA has rejuvenated their brand — now doing almost $6 billion in annual sales.

The part you didnt know?

Without Rihanna, Jay-Z, and a private plane, it would have never happened.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, let's set the stage...

Before Nike showed up, PUMA was a top brand — from Walt Frazier to Vince Carter, PUMA represented some of the NBA's top players.

The only problem?

They couldn't turn a profit so they shut down the division — enabling Nike & Adidas to take over.
2) Since PUMA left basketball in 2000, Nike has put a stranglehold on the market.

Even with top players like Stephen Curry and James Harden repping other brands, you'll still find about 70% of NBA players wearing Nike shoes — a figure that doesn't even include the Jordan Brand.
3) More importantly—as the NBA increased in popularity—Nike's brand thrived financially.

Nike US Revenue
1990: $2B
2000: $5B
2010: $8B
2019: $16B

The interesting part?

At 5% profit margins, the basketball shoe business isn't sustainable — it's all about the cultural influence.
4) With revenue dropping 10% from 2012-2014, PUMA knew changes were needed.

First up — Rihanna

As part of a multi-year partnership, @rihanna was named creative director of PUMA's Women's business.

With women's sales jumping 92%, PUMA saw immediate results.

Next up — Jay-Z
5) After seeing success with Rihanna, PUMA set their sights on an even bigger goal — reviving their basketball division.



Given his cultural appeal and connection to sports biggest stars through Roc Nation, it was a no-brainer for PUMA.

They just had to convince him
6) PUMA, who had an existing relationship with Jay-Z, pitched the mogul on becoming creative director of PUMA basketball.

Jay-Z was in, provided PUMA committed financial resources & was willing to sign top players.

He also wanted a private jet — saying it would set PUMA apart.
7) When it came to financially committing to top players, PUMA wasn't playing around.

Roster Includes:
- Kyle Kuzma
- DeAndre Ayton
- Danny Green
- Skylar Diggins-Smith
- RJ Barrett
- Marvin Bagley III
- Terry Rozier

PUMA has also signed LaMelo Ball to a rumored $100M deal.
8) As for the private jet, PUMA came through on that also.

They even personalized the tail number for Jay-Z:

N: Country code
444: Jay-Z's album title
SC: Shawn Carter

It's not just a gimmick either, players routinely mention their ability to use the "PUMA Jet" as an advantage.
9) Outside of basketball, PUMA has continued to deploy their celebrity playbook.

The last few years they've announced partnerships with celeberities from J. Cole & The Weeknd to Selena Gomez & Adriana Lima — not to mention Neymar & Lewis Hamilton.

The best part?

It's working.
10) After seeing their annual revenue decline for two consecutive years, PUMA's celebrity strategy has skyrocketed their growth.

2012-2014: $3.8B to 3.5B
2014-2019: $3.5B to $6.5B

Even better — after being down 2006 to 2014, PUMA's stock has gone from $22 to $99.
11) It's unclear how much basketball contributes to PUMA's bottom line, but that's not the point.

PUMA is using basketball as an avenue for cultural influence — enabling a celebrity's audience to serve as brand currency.

The result?

Today, PUMA is more relevant than ever.
12) In the end, consumer trends have shifted toward a greater reliance on celebrity influence and distribution.

Props to PUMA for spotting the trend and pivoting, while brands like Under Armour missed it completely.

It ended up changing the direction of their entire brand.
If you enjoyed this thread, you should:

1. Follow me, I tweet cool sports business stories everyday.

2. Subscribe to my free daily newsletter where I give detailed analysis on topics involving the money and business behind sports.
Also, don't forget @AthleticBrewing is the reason I'm able to create sports business content full-time.

If you want to support me, buy some beer - it's really great stuff.

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More from @JoePompliano

20 Nov
Two entrepreneurs turned a $10,000 investment into a $600 million company.

The best part?

They did it from their parents basement in just 5 years.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Peter Rahal, raised just outside of Chicago, struggled through school as a kid — eventually being diagnosed with dyslexia.

“School was hell for me, I grew up thinking I was stupid.”

Rahal turned to entrepreneurship — routinely buying & selling beanie babies & baseball cards.
2) For Peter Rahal, those baseball cards eventually turned to marijuana — which he grew and sold on the flat roof of his parents house during high school.


“It wasn’t a pothead thing—it was a supply issue”

Next up — Wittenberg, a small liberal arts college in Ohio.
Read 18 tweets
19 Nov
With more than $7 billion in annual sales, Gatorade has become an iconic part of sports history — earning the University of Florida about $300M in royalties.

The craziest part?

They should have made $1 billion more.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Let's start in the summer of 1965 — Florida Gators head coach Ray Graves notices that the brutal Florida heat & humidity is having an adverse impact on his players performance.

Who does he turn to for help?


Graves heads to the schools laboratory to get answers…
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The scientists attended practice & games, interviewed athletes and measured their hydration through urine samples.

Next up — analyzing the results.
Read 18 tweets
17 Nov
Kim Ng has been named General Manager of the Miami Marlins, becoming the first female GM in MLB history.

From intern to GM, and an abundance of challenges in between, her journey to baseball's mountaintop is incredible.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Let's start in 1990 — Kim Ng has just graduated from the University of Chicago, where she played softball for 4 years.

As a 21-year old graduate looking to pursue her passion for sports, Kim Ng landed an interview with the @whitesox.

The kicker?

It was for an internship...
2) Looking back on Kim Ng's interview with the @whitesox, former assistant GM Dan Evans calls it a day he'll "never forget."


Because they interviewed 100 people, received glowing recommendations from Ng's peers, and unanimously agreed she was the right person for the job.
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14 Nov
Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are teaming up to buy Wrexham AFC, a 156-year old Welch soccer club.

The craziest part?

They're doing it for a documentary.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, let's set the stage.

From John Henry with Liverpool to Stan Kroenke at Arsenal, and a bunch of mid-level teams in between, European soccer has seen a massive influx of cash from American investors over the last two decades.


Opportunity, of course.
2) The opportunity revolves around a few things:

— Compared to US professional sports leagues, broadcast rights have a lot of room to grow.

— With a promotion & relegation structure, there's increased financial upside.

— US sports teams are attractive, but rarely change hands.
Read 14 tweets
13 Nov
Michael Jordan played an essential role in Nike becoming a $160 billion global brand, taking home more than a billion himself.

The part you didn't know?

Without Tinker Hatfield, it would've never happened.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Let's start in 1981 — Tinker Hatfield, an Oregon athlete under Bill Bowerman, graduates with a degree in architecture and heads to Nike.

For the first four years of his career, Hatfield designed office buildings and retail stores for Nike.

But everything changed in 1985...
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Looking for a solution, Nike held a 24-hour design competition.

The winner?

Tinker Hatfield — who joined the design team after begging to participate.
Read 18 tweets
12 Nov
The 84th Masters Tournament tees off at Augusta National Golf Club tomorrow.

From Magnolia Lane to Presidential Cabins, the Masters is full of unique history that makes it "a tradition unlike any other."

Here are 10 of my favorite examples.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Upon entering Augusta National, you're greeted by one of the most iconic driveways in the world — Magnolia Lane.

From the entrance gate to the clubhouse, Magnolia Lane is lined with 330-yards of pristine magnolia trees.

How much do players love it?

Tiger Woods made his own.
2) Situated atop the clubhouse is "The Crow's Nest" — a 30-by-40-foot living quarters for up to 5 amateurs during the Masters.

Previous Guests
— Tiger Woods
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With so much history, amateurs jump at the opportunity to stay in The Crow's Nest.
Read 13 tweets

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