After sitting on the court side of the basketball business for nearly two decades, Puma is re-entering the playing field with dominating names like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.
The big reveal comes from the WNBA’s announcement of a partnership with the lifestyle brand on Friday. It also marks Puma’s first deal with a professional sports league.
Contractually, Puma is set to have a league-wide sponsorship in the footwear category. And as an official sponsor, the brand is allowed to use the league’s trademarks and show WNBA players in the brand’s official uniforms.
Spearheading the movement is Dallas Wings guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who is slated to wear Puma shoes for the rest of the season. Naturally, as an ambassador for the company, the 27-year-old began by wearing the Clyde Court Disrupt on Saturday during the WNBA All-Star Weekend.
Diggins-Smith has collaborated with Puma by sharing her experience as an athlete for their “Do You Stories” series, which aimed to celebrate and empower women.
The brand has also signed ballers Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Zhaire Smith and Terry Rozier.
Perhaps, the increase in partnerships has risen since hiring Grammy-winning artist Jay-Z, who was brought on to help with the basketball division back in June.
On Thursday, Puma released a statement revealing a 15 percent increase in sales in the second quarter on a currency-adjusted basis. “We got very positive feedback to our plans of re-entering the Basketball category and both — the announcements of our new NBA players and the revelation of the product,” said CEO Bjorn Gulden.