Jay Z Assists Puma in Its Latest Shot at Basketball

  • Puma signs four NBA endorsement deals after 20 years
  • Nike controls 50% of the U.S. shoe market

Footwear company Puma (PUM.DE +1.60%) made its return to basketball sneakers and NBA endorsement deals for the first time in 20 years, and it’s bringing Jay Z along. Can the hip hop icon help revitalize the brands image when it comes to professional sports?

Why This Matters: The rap mogul will act as creative director of the company’s new Hoops division, taking charge of its marketing campaigns. Jay Z is also expected to partake in both product development and identifying NBA talent that align with the Puma brand for potential endorsement deals.

Puma has hit the ground running with partnerships, its Jay Z pact is just one of its latest chain of deals. Prior to the 2018 NBA draft last week, the company signed multi-year endorsement deals with the franchise’s first and second overall picks Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III, along with two other top prospects. Puma also gave NBA champion Walt "Clyde" Frazier, who helped the company leap into basketball in 1973, a lifetime contract for an undisclosed amount.

Situational Awareness: This is Puma’s latest run towards cultural relevance. The company has a track record of collaborating with creators such as Rihanna, who’s been making waves with her Fenty Puma by Rihanna for several years now. This partnership created a lot of buzz for Puma, curating sellout pieces that merge the pop icon’s hordes of fans and the brand’s loyal consumers. Meanwhile, Nike (NKE -1.47%) remains the number one footwear company in the United States, controlling 50% of the athletic footwear market alone.

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