Lewes FC and Nike have announced a three-year partnership, with the American sportswear giant becoming the East Sussex club’s new kit supplier.
As part of the deal, Nike will manufacture kits and merchandise for Lewes’ men’s and women’s first teams, as well as the club’s Youth Pathways. The club’s kits were previously supplied by Kappa for five years.
In a statement from the club, Nike’s history of supporting women’s football played a role in both parties’ decision to team up. The club mentioned Mia Hamm’s endorsement deal with the brand in the early ‘90s as a deciding factor – The Swoosh was one of the first global sportswear brands to promote a woman athlete.
Lewes’ Commercial Manager Stef McLoughlin said: “Nike is a bold, brave brand, and we are a bold, brave club. In the conversations leading up to this partnership, it was clear that we aligned on our vision for a partnership that was more than just a kit.
“It was about purpose, ambition and democratising football for all. We’re delighted to be taking this step forward with such great partners by our side.”
This new partnership is a major step forward for the semi-professional club. Lewes has grown tremendously in recent years – the women’s side made it to the FA Cup quarter-final this past season – and has become a beacon of gender equality in football. The club was the first to pay men’s and women’s players equally in 2017, and its emphasis on equal resources and budgets for both teams has set an example that all clubs should strive to replicate.
As the club continues to grow, the deal with Nike comes at a pivotal time. With the sportswear brand selling football club merchandise in over 40 countries, Lewes FC is about to go global. It’s about time.