Reebok Officially Free from Adidas - Time to Come Back to Football?

Adidas’ sale of Reebok was officially finalized last week. The Three Stripes paid $3.8 billion for Reebok back in 2006 and have now sold the brand to Authentic Brands Group (ABG) for approximately $2.5 billion. Here we take a look at what that means for the brand who used to be a force in football.

What Next For Reebok?

Now that they are now longer a subsidiary of Adidas, Reebok will have more freedom to operate. Through their new ownership by ABG, they have lined up new partnerships with JD Sports, Foot Locker and New Guards Group to help expand their global distribution network. The Reebok Design Group, based in Boston, will be the central hub of all product design and creation, although their new partners will also have a say in these matters, depending on what is best for their market.

“So now, getting to embrace sport more and having the freedom to work with whoever we want around the world, these are the liberties, so to speak, that we haven’t had over the last few years.”

Complex recently did an interview with Todd Krinsky, senior vice president and GM of product at Reebok, and Nick Woodhouse, president and GMO of ABG, in which the two men discuss in detail how these partnerships will work, and the extent of the input the partners will have.

A Return to Football?

One of the most interesting points of the interview was when Krinsky and Woodhouse discussed the importance of their new partners in the decision making and design processes for local markets.

“And I think anyone would agree to sit in Boston or in London or whatnot and make a decision for Hong Kong or Shanghai or Calgary for that matter, is probably not a good long-term strategy”. It seems as though Reebok will be very open to communication and collaboration with these new partners on products and ranges made available in different parts of the world.

“If there’s a separate European range that is needed for footwear, for apparel, they’ll (partners) work with Todd on creating that range.”These comments suggest that JD, Foot Locker and New Guards Group would hold quite a lot of sway in the Reebok products they will be selling, so could these partners convince Reebok to get back into the football market?

It would certainly be profitable for them. If JD Sports and Foot Locker were the exclusive retailers of Reebok football apparel, and Reebok signed a Premier League team, there would be a lot of money to be made on the sale of shirts, training and lifestyle gear. With Reebok’s reputation and status as an “athletic lifestyle brand”, combined with the ongoing trends of throwback kit references and the mixing of football and streetwear, they could surely slot back into the game with ease.

“We’re one of the few brands—and you know the other ones—that can play in sport, can be on the field to play on Saturdays and Sundays and then can also have a rich heritage with classics.”John Salter, CEO of ABG has ties to Botafogo owner and Crystal Palace shareholder John Textor, who has already spoken of the brand’s desire to make a comeback to the sport, potentially with his Brazilian side. Businessmen love scratching each other’s backs, so could a Reebok deal with Botafogo lead to the brand also signing Palace?

Reebok To Return To Football?? Possible Deal with Botafogo In The Works

While this is all speculation for now, the timing could be right for them to start thinking about a possible move back to a sport where they were once a major player. Free from the shackles of Adidas, they can get back to doing things on their own terms.

Would you like to see Reebok make a comeback to football? Let us know in the comments.