Last updated on September 26th, 2023 at 07:09 PM
The English Football League (EFL) have announced partnership extensions with global sports brand PUMA and world’s leading football management simulation title, Football Manager.
The dual partnership extensions demonstrate the EFL’s commitment to partners in its portfolios, with both brands continuing long association with the League, its clubs, and its competitions, including the Sky Bet Championship, League One, League Two, Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy.
After signing on as the Official Match Ball partner of the EFL since the beginning of 2021/22, PUMA’s three-year extension will see the global brand produce the official match ball for all EFL competitions through to the end of the 2026/27 season.
PUMA has delivered 10,000 FIFA-approved International-standard match balls each season to the EFL and EFL clubs. This season’s PUMA Orbita ball design includes an 8-panel ball configuration, a reduction from last season’s 12-panel design. These larger panels provide a better connection with the ball, enhancing players’ touch and control.
These include the re-introduction of the high-vis fluorescent yellow balls used in EFL matches and competitions between November and the end of February, as well as Play-Off specific footballs to be used in all EFL Play-Off Semi-Final and Final matches.
While PUMA have grown their portfolio of global football properties in recent years, including Serie A and La Liga, the brand has entered into a number of UK focused partnerships and work with ten EFL Clubs spread across all three divisions.
The one-year extension between the EFL and Sports Interactive, developers of the Football Manager game, ensures that all EFL clubs and competitions will continue to appear as fully licensed entities in Sports Interactive’s next release, Football Manager 2024.
After first partnering back with SEGA – of which Sports Interactive are a subsidiary of – back in 2004, EFL has granted Football Manager Official Licensee status since 2014.
Since extending for a six-year term, the EFL and Football Manager have enjoyed numerous joint campaigns including the EFL Football Manager Cup during the COVID-19 lockdown, the #FromSofaToStadium campaign to celebrate the return of fans to football post-lockdown, and the FM23 EFL Trophy Challenge.
Last season’s FM23 Challenge spanned two months and culminated with FMFC member and Bolton Wanderers fan Ian Fraser winning the opportunity of a lifetime to present the EFL Trophy to captain Ricardo Santos at Wembley in April.
EFL Chief Commercial Officer, Ben Wright said: “We have sought to partner with brands where we can develop and cultivate our partnerships and create deeper, more impactful connections with fans, customers, and communities.
“PUMA are one of the world’s leading brands and have a distinct visibility not only on competition match days, but also support some of our EFL and EFL Club’s programs and initiatives through apparel and footballs.
“Our partnership with Football Manager has also exemplifies our commercial portfolio objectives. The numbers of people playing Football Manager and engaging with EFL clubs is testament to the ever-growing popularity of the EFL.
“We thank both PUMA and Sports Interactive for the ongoing relationship and helping to continue engaging fans for this season and beyond.”
General Manager of UK&I at PUMA, Bas van den Bemt said: “Continuing our partnership with the EFL symbolizes PUMA’s dedication to the heart and spirit of football in the UK. Since 2021, we’ve been honoured to be the Official Match Ball partner for the EFL, and this extension is a testament to the strong bond we’ve cultivated with the League, its clubs, and most importantly, the fans.
“Here’s to more shared moments, goals, and memories in the seasons to come.”
Studio Director at Sports Interactive, Miles Jacobson said: “We are delighted to announce the renewal of our partnership with the EFL.
“The League’s clubs are among the most popular with our players; in FM23, more than 40 million games were played with EFL clubs across 1.5 million unique careers. After three terrific Play-Off finals back in May, we’re looking forward to the start of the season and continuing our partnership with the EFL.”