Fashion and Luxury Brands on Sport Sponsorships

Brands like Giorgio Armani, Sacai and Puma are focusing on sponsorship marketing.


11 March, 2024

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As the cultural and commercial factors of sports with fashion and luxury brands taking the main stage are surging, new partnering strategies are being followed by labels that align more with their target audience. Sports sponsorship on a global level is estimated to rise by a compound annual growth rate of 8,68% between 2023 and 2030.

For instance, the teams from the Women’s FIFA 2023 World Cup were seen collaborating with premium brands. This phenomenon is not only used in global space but also local regions. Global Sportswear Market to 2027 report of GlobalData indicated that the sports teams are also trying to influence consumers to have sportswear as everyday wear by improving the aesthetics of their merchandise collection. These exceptional players, who are perceived to be role models for many younger audiences, are starting a new perspective by partnering with the fashion and luxury brands which, in turn, get a new group of audience.

Let us take a look at the collaborations between brands and the sports sector.

Abercrombie & Fitch with McLaren Formula 1

Abercrombie & Fitch announced its new partnership with the McLaren Formula 1 team in February 2024. The agreement covers content creation and graphically-designed apparel. It all commenced with the two parties’ social media presence, collaborations, and events together in 2023 when the brand’s McLaren licensed apparel drop got more attention on the platform TikTok.

As a way to commemorate the deal, Abercrombie & Fitch will be presenting McLaren’s brand-new Formula 1 car with the 2024 livery design in the label’s Fifth Avenue store. It also worked on hosting a launch party and preparing the outer space of the store like a pop-up.

Abercrombie & Fitch is releasing a collection with products worth up to $500. It is also announcing digital prizes such as trips to Miami, enjoying Race Weekend, air tickets, hotel credits, and a replica helmet with the signature of Lando Norris on TikTok.

F1 drivers are becoming the faces of fashion and luxury brands. Charles Leclerc has been the ambassador for the Made to Measure line in Giorgio Armani since 2020. Lewis Hamilton is the global ambassador of Tommy Hilfiger. Boss named Aston Martin F1 driver Fernando Alonso as its brand ambassador in July 2023. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 driver George Russell was appointed the brand ambassador of Puma in March 2022. Paul & Shark announced Antonio Giovinazzi as its ambassador in March 2021.

Giorgio Armani with Hurlingham Grass

Giorgio Armani served as the title sponsor of Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic, an exhibition at The Hurlingham Club, in 2022. It also included the UK tournament of the ATP Champions Tour. The label launched a tennis-themed capsule collection for the entire staff of the tournament which was available to shop at the Harrods, Sloane Street store, and The Hurlingham Club. In June 2023, Giorgio Armani released another collection which arrived exactly in the summer on British soil and just before Wimbledon.

Kiton with Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur chose Kiton to be its official Formalwear Partner in July 2023 for the next two years. This partnership marks the club’s first outfits for coach staff and team designed by Kiton New Textures. The main shades are blue and white inspired by the sea on the Naples coast. The first look is a single-breasted medley suit with a crew neck pullover and jersey polo t-shirt. The second outfit is a snap button-closing jacket with jogger pants and a t-shirt.

Le Coq Sportif with Argentina Rugby

Le Coq Sportif has signed a sponsorship agreement with Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) to replace Nike as the official supplier for the representative teams of Argentina (Los Pumas 7's, Los Pumas, Los Pumitas and Las Yaguaretés) from 2024 till the Rugby World Cup 2027. The brand had already joined forces with Argentina in the two-match series with England in 1981.

LVMH and Le Coq Sportif with Olympics

LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton has been appointed as the creative partner for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris 2024. The group is tapping various of its brands for this. Moët Hennessy will be serving wines, cognac and champagne. Both Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy are taking care of the hospitality in VIP lounges. Chaumet will be designing the medals which will be manufactured by Monnaie de Paris. Other brands such as Berluti (known for its formal attire), Louis Vuitton, and Dior are participating too.

It is said that LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton has invested around $162 million, making it the largest sponsor in Paris 2024. The group chose Léon Marchand, a record-holding 5-time world champaign in 400-metre medley, and Enzo Lefort, gold medalist in men’s foil fencing, as the ambassadors of Louis Vuitton and Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos, four-time champaign in artistic gymnastics, as the ambassador of Dior for Paris 2024.

Moreover, Le Coq Sportif is working on designing a collection with colours influenced by LOOK OF THE GAME, the official identity of the Games. The brand has released three ranges: Graphic, Sport, and Essential with timeless designs, including polo shirts, jackets, t-shirts, trousers, and sweatshirts.

Pleasures with AC Milan

AC Milan is one step ahead of all other European sports teams in the long-term fashion partnerships. It has signed a fourth kit collaboration with LA-based streetwear brand Pleasures in February 2024. The label has come up with two models of jersey which will be used in two games - against Monza and Napoli. The design has taken inspiration from Milan’s gothic architecture and the punk influences from LA.

The team has Off-White as its culture curator and style partner since October 2022. Recently, they launched a second Uniform collection to be worn off-pitch for both men’s and women’s teams. In addition to that, AC Milan looped in Vogue Italia to produce its collection campaign in September 2023.

Puma with RB Leipzig

Puma is replacing Nike with a multi-year partnership with RB Leipzig, the football club of the Bundesliga, for over €100 million. The deal was finalised in February 2024. The label will be supplying the sports kits for the women’s, men’s, youth, and esports teams of the club from the 2024-25 season.

Sacai with Mercedes

Sacai is collaborating with a high-performance division in Mercedes AMG to release a capsule collection. It is not promoted as a sports-driven collection but this new addition debuted during the Las Vegas Grand Prix in November 2023. The brand took its inspiration from Mercedes AMG’s first race car, the 300 SEL 6.8 AMG or the “Red Pig.” The collection includes varsity jackets, jumpsuits, t-shirts, and many more apparel along with accessories. This set was available at AMG Speed City in Las Vegas and on Nordstrom's website.

Skims with NBA

Kim Kardashian’s Skims is entering the sports sector by becoming the official underwear partner for the USA Basketball team, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in October 2023. The partnership will be followed by the brand’s first menswear collection. Its campaign features prominent faces from the sports industry such as Neymar Jr, Nick Bosa, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Through this deal, the leagues have been given a chance to enhance their inclusive image with a modern touch. Skims is known for its young and diverse consumer profile.

Cover Image: Giorgio Armani Pop-up store at the Hurlingham Club, courtesy Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic website.