GLOBAL athletics brand Puma listed Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt as its key brand-asset amidst a 16 per cent rise in sales to 784 million euros over the third-quarter.
The German-based brand described the new three-year contract with Bolt as the most important event in its quarter behind its financials. It even ranked it above a multi-million full take-over of a joint-venture in China and Hong Kong and also irregularities discovered at a second joint-venture in Greece, according to its latest financials.
“Usain Bolt remains a long-term brand asset for Puma,” stated the first page of the financials which incidentally had a life-sized photo of Bolt on its cover.
Puma’s intangible fixed-assets (with a non-defined useful life) had an opening balance of €70 million on January 2009 and closing balance of €26 million at December 2009.
The contract signed for an undisclosed sum in August represents, according to Puma, the largest sponsorship contract by a track and field athlete to date. It follows the estimated eight-figure Nike contract received by US sprinter Carl Lewis. Bolt, the two-time world record holder and triple World and Olympic champion entered the Puma contract in 2003 which runs until 2013.
Over the third-quarter, Puma’s net profit jumped 14 per cent to €77 million; its gross profit margin remained at 50 per cent; operating result before special items improved 5.3 per cent to €113 million; whilst earning per share rose from €4.50 to €5.16.
It isn’t the first time that Puma has lauded the value of Bolt to its investors. In its 2009 annual report Puma indicated that the performance of “Bolt at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, where he broke the 100m and 200m world records, proved to be a particular highlight for the Puma brand”.
Puma views its brand image as key to its marketing of apparel, clothing and footwear.
“The brand image is essential since it can influence consumer behaviour not only to the advantage, but also to the disadvantage, of the brand,” it stated in its financials.