In recent news there has been an ongoing court case between Liverpool and New Balance with regards to their contract. Liverpool wished to sign with Nike for the 2020/21 season, thus moving away from New Balance. The results of this case concluded today which saw Liverpool win their case over New Balance which in turn allowed them to prepare a move to Nike for next season.
Considering this outcome of the court ruling, we decided to put this blog post together looking over the historic Liverpool football shirts which have been produced by Warrior/New Balance throughout their contract. So, if you want to find out more about the club’s future contract with Nike and how their previous jerseys with NB have shaped the club’s famous appearance, then keep on reading.
Warrior/New Balance Contracts
Warrior is known for producing high-quality ice hockey and lacrosse equipment; however, they previously had a hand in the soccer market too. They first entered the world of soccer clothing production in 2012 which is when they started working with Liverpool to produce their home, away and third kits as well as their training wear. Their partnership only lasted a couple of seasons before New Balance took over ahead of the 2015/16 season.
New Balance acquired Warrior in 2004 and became their parent company. At the time of the Liverpool x Warrior contract, New Balance did not have a place in the football clothing market. However, in early 2015 they announced that they were going to break into the global soccer market. As a result of this news New Balance started to produce the Liverpool kits along with the rest of the football contracts Warrior currently held. This therefore allowed Warrior to return to their hockey and lacrosse equipment.
Previous Kit Deals for Liverpool
Over the recent years we have seen that the costs per season or per year between sportswear brands and soccer clubs have increased dramatically. This is potentially down to the fact that with each new contract, manufacturers aim to match or beat the current club’s manufacturer’s price. Therefore because of this we see the price on every contract go up and up every time a new agreement is on the horizon.
Exploring this further we have broken down a brief list of how much each contract/season agreement Liverpool has signed over the recent years:
- Reebok (1996 to 2006) – Signed a six-year contract in 2003 worth up to £100m to extend current 7-year deal but swapped to Adidas part way through the extension.
- Adidas (2006 to 2012) – Signed in 2006, the club made £12m a year across their six-year deal but moved to Warrior after their £25m pledge in 2012 which Adidas could not match.
- Warrior (2012 to 2015) – £25m a year for six years, partnership lasted 3 years before changing to New Balance which did not compromise their original deal.
- New Balance (2015 to present) – Currently paying £45m per year after starting at the £25m previously pledged by Warrior in 2012.
Comparing to this breakdown above, according to reports Nike had offered Liverpool an initial fee of £30m per season. The current New Balance deal was worth around £40m a year. However, the bonus of a move to Nike sees pledged royalties of 20% of all net sales of merchandise, £2m worth of licensed products per season and a 19% discount on standard wholesale prices.
On the 25th October 2019 the court ruled that the New Balance claim was dismissed which saw Liverpool able to sign a new contract with Nike which is due to commence when the New Balance contract would have expired at the end of the 2019/20 season.
With regards to the ruling made it was a close decision, but it was simply the exposure which Nike was offering Liverpool compared to New Balance which ultimately won the case. This exposure included the liked of LeBron James, Serena Williams and Drake promoting the club and their kit.
As Liverpool is set to continue with New Balance until the end of 2019/20, we are expected to see the new Nike Liverpool kits launched ahead of the 2020/21 season. Liverpool has yet to work with Nike on the production of their kits, so this would most certainly be a refreshing appearance change for the Liverpool FC apparel. It is reported that they are due to sign a 5 year contract with the American sportswear brand - Nike.
Liverpool Warrior Home Shirts
The first ever home kit produced by Warrior for Liverpool saw one of the most significant changes which has some fans displeased by their design choices. At the beginning of their contract Warrior made the decision to relocate the placement of the Hillsborough tribute from the front of the jerseys to the rear across their entire collection. This therefore did not receive a great reception from supporters, but this has soon become a staple appearance of the Liverpool kits.
The 2012/13 Liverpool home shirt produced by Warrior saw the return of a template which saw golden accents sported on a red base colour which was reminiscent of the appearance of the previous Umbro jerseys. Prior to the Warrior release, the Adidas and Reebok launches tended to display white accents on a red base.
Their second season with Liverpool saw the jersey continue to have golden details on a red shirt but with an addition of white and deeper red accents. White was used to outline the neck and the hem of the sleeves. As well as this there was a subtle striped pattern across the front of the chest which was added in a slightly different shade of red which worked superbly with the gold accents.
And finally, their last season with Liverpool saw a heavier implementation of the white colouring and a reduction of gold. The red jersey had the Warrior badge and sponsor logo adorned in white, but the Liverpool crest remained woven in gold. Along with this the neckline, sleeves and flanks of the shirt featured white stripes to enhance the shape of the jersey.
Liverpool New Balance Home Jerseys
Taking over in 2015/16, New Balance’s first collaboration with Liverpool saw their home jerseys feature a subtle striped print across the chest like the appearance of the Warrior 2013/14 shirt. Along with this the neck was outline in gold whereas the accents on the front of the chest were all applied in white which is something Warrior had not produced during their time with the club.
Their 2016/17 home jersey saw the return of the all gold accents on the front of the chest along with the golden neck outline. The base colour of the shirt was also a plain red which was a clean and fresh look compared to the striped pattern the previous year.
The following season saw the addition of the Western Union sponsor to the left sleeve which was applied in gold print and each sleeve was finished with a white trim. The neckline was changed from a crew neck to a slight V shaping with a much larger outline in white. They also reintroduced the contrasting accents seen previously with Warrior by having the NB logo and sponsor printed in white and the Liverpool crest woven in gold.
The 18/19 Liverpool home shirt sported a red base colour with all-white accents along with a textured pattern print across the jersey. This pattern was applied in a slightly different shade of red to keep the contrast of colouring to a minimum.
Their most recent launch was the 2019/20 home shirt for Liverpool which saw the white pinstripe design return to the Liverpool home jersey. Along with this the New Balance motif and Liverpool crest were woven in gold with the chest sponsor in white and the sleeve sponsor in gold.
Liverpool Warrior Away Shirts
With the away and third shirts, you often get more freedom with regards to the design and colour choice which is what Warrior most certainly took advantage of. Their first away shirt for Liverpool was relatively simplistic in colour and design choice as it sported a black base colour with grey banding across the top of the chest and shoulders. This jersey was finished off with gold accents just like the home jersey.
Dubbed one of the worst kits, the 2013/14 Liverpool away shirt by Warrior was heavily disliked. The base colour of the shirt was white with red outlines to the neck and waist. The Warrior emblem was applied in red along with the sponsor and the Liverpool crest was gold. Across the front of the shirt there was a graphic print which saw black and red dashed dotted around. These dashes were applied in a pixelated manner which was not easy on the eyes.
The last away shirt produced by Warrior before New Balance took over saw the colour scheme of the home jersey in reverse. The jersey featured a bright yellow base colour with red accents on the chest and a red outline to the waist and across the front of the chest.
Liverpool New Balance Away Jerseys
The first Liverpool away jersey produced by New Balance saw a smart and fresh appearance of a white jersey with red accents. Due to the minimal appearance of the jersey it was a refreshing change to the striking yellow seen the season before.
The following season in 2016/17 saw the Liverpool away shirt sport a black base colour with the chest accents applied in white. The neckline was outline in white fabric while the waist of the shirt featured red stripes to accentuate the shape of the shirt.
In 2017/18 New Balance has a white base colour with black accents on the chest and the sleeve sponsor. However, the base of the jersey featured an additional design feature which saw light green panels applied to the top left and bottom right corners almost resembling a chequerboard pattern.
The 2018/19 New Balance jersey was a striking and bold design which saw a vibrant purple and orange colour scheme. The front of the jersey was a light lilac colour with orange accents applied to the front. Whereas the rear of the jersey and the sleeves were produced using a lightly darker purple shade which contrasted nicely between the lighter shade on the front. The sleeve sponsor was also applied in orange.
And finally, the 2019/20 Liverpool New Balance away shirt saw their clean and fresh white base colour return. Across the front of the shirt there was a striped pattern in a light grey colouring to create a subtle contrast. The accents on the front of the chest and on the sleeve were applied in navy and the sleeves were finished off with a navy and red trim.
Liverpool Warrior Third Shirts
Making a statement with their first third shirt release, Warrior chose to use a purple, white and golden colour scheme. The front and back of the torso sported a deep purple base colour while the sleeves and back of the shoulders sported a white base with a textured effect pattern. The accents on the front of the chest were applied in gold to match the details on the home and away shirts for that season too and the sleeves and neckline were finished in orange.
For the 2013/14 season Warrior continued with their vibrant and striking pattern and colouring choice for the Liverpool third. The jersey featured a mix of white, blue and purple detailing on the base along with the golden accents on the chest. The sleeves of the shirt alternated in colour with the left being white and the right being purple. Black was used across the top of the chest with a split towards the bottom which saw grey and white stripes on the right and black and purple stripes on the left.
And finally, their last collaboration with Liverpool saw a black and grey hooped jersey contrasted with a black and red diagonal striped graphic across the chest. The polo neckline was applied using a red collar. The accents on the front of the chest were applied using their contrast of white sponsor and Warrior logo with golden Liverpool crest.
Liverpool New Balance Third Jerseys
The first third shirt produced by New Balance kept to a similar colouring of the 2014/15 Warrior third shirt, just a lighter appearance. The dark grey base colour featured light grey horizontal stripes across the bottom of the jersey and the chest accents were applied in white. There is also a subtle pop of colour along the length of the sleeves and outline of the polo collar.
Opting for a vibrant and bold third jersey compared to the black and white away, the 2016/17 third shirt for Liverpool featured a high-vis yellow/green base with grey accents. The striking colour was used across the entire shire with grey sleeves and neckline panel which was outlined in white. Completing the jersey, the chest accents were applied in grey.
The New Balance third shirt for 2017/18 had a simplistic template but with a bold colour choice. The base colour of the jersey was a bright orange shade with black accents across the front of the chest and sleeve. The neck and sleeves were also finished with a black trim.
When producing the 2018/19 third shirt, New Balance opted for a patterned jersey with a simplistic yet stylish colour scheme. The light grey jersey was decorated with a darker grey pattern across the chest and the panel on the sleeves was in the same shade too. Adding a bold statement to this fresh appearance, the chest and sleeve accents were applied in red along with a pop of the colour on the neck and sides of the shirt.
And finally, their latest collaboration with New Balance saw their third shirt continue with the chest pattern appearance of the previous season. The deep grey base colour contains diagonal stripes across the chest in white, leaving the sleeves a plain grey. The New Balance logo and Liverpool crest were applied in teal and the sponsors were printed in white.
Your Opinions on the Historic Liverpool Jerseys and their Future
Throughout this article we have explored the signature Liverpool jerseys which have been produced by New Balance and Warrior over the years. Which jerseys do you think were the most significant and which were the most disappointing? Let us know over on our social media pages where you can tell us your thoughts on the outcome of this recent case too. Shop the range Liverpool home, away and third kits on our online store today and you could pledge allegiance to your beloved team in your favourite style shirt.
This article was written exclusively for Soccer Box by Loren Astbury