According to Puma is ending its sponsorship of Women’s Professional Soccer, after three years. The company was one of the league’s founding partners, and opted not to renew its agreement. New league CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan confirmed the agreement with the sportswear company will not be renewed.
“We are currently in discussions,” O’Sullivan said of potential new apparel sponsors, but would not elaborate on who the league is speaking with. Sources have indicated the struggling league has approached both adidas and Under Armour.
Puma provided the WPS team with boots, balls, uniforms and other apparel. O’Sullivan would not reveal whether there was a cash component to the deal. Under the league structure, national sponsor revenue is used by the league office to cover its operating expenses, with any surpluses distributed to the teams.
Puma had signed a number of the league’s players, including two-time league MVP Marta and U.S. National Team member Amy Rodriguez, to endorsement contracts. Though it did put some support behind its sponsorship of the league in the first two years, that support waned this past season, even as the Women’s World Cup was capturing attention for the women’s game and the league.
The company apparently was hoping to see quicker returns on its investment in terms of retail sales of women’s-specific product. According to a source, the league’s lack of a west coast presence since losing the LA Sol and FC Gold Pride also was a factor.
O’Sullivan said all of the league’s remaining national partners are locked in at least through 2012.