Another highlight, both from a sports and business perspective, was PUMA’s re-entry into the basketball category. With the help of Jay-Z, PUMA’s Creative Director for Basketball, we rolled out an exciting campaign, which was well received by athletes, media and fans alike. Our first shoe in this category in a long time, the Clyde Court Disrupt, was quickly sold out in its market debut. We added to our credibility by signing some of the biggest names in basketball, such as Skylar Diggins-Smith, Terry Rozier, Rudy Gay, Danny Green and four-time NBA All-star DeMarcus Cousins. In addition, we contracted the Number 1 picks in this year’s NBA draft Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Kevin Knox, Michael Porter Jr and Zhaire Smith.
In football, the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia offered us the perfect showcase to present our brand and innovative performance products. We achieved high visibility during the tournament thanks to our four partnered national teams Uruguay, Switzerland, Serbia and Senegal and our impressive roster of players. With Uruguay and Switzerland PUMA assured its presence in the knockout stage, while with Antoine Griezmann and Romelu Lukaku two of the three top scorers of the tournament were PUMA players. Antoine Griezmann was even awarded “FIFA Man of the Match” after scoring the winning goal in the final. All our players were equipped with special editions of the football boots PUMA FUTURE or PUMA ONE. Furthermore, we have enlarged our players’ roster with international football stars, including Barcelona and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez, Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund), David Silva (Manchester City), Dejan Lovren (FC Liverpool) and Davie Selke (Hertha BSC).
In 2018, our Running and Training category was driven by the extraordinary performances of our athletes in track and field along with the introduction of first-class products. For example, the 19-year-old Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria did not only win the Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm, but also the IAAF title “Highlight of the Season 2018” with his incredible long-jump of 8.83 meters. We also enlarged our portfolio by signing additional top athletes like Europe’s “fastest man”, French sprinter Jimmy Vicaut.
With the running shoe HYBRID, we delivered an entirely new definition of midsole technology to the market. Meanwhile, the biggest highlights of 2018 in our Women’s category were the shoe models PHENOM and DEFY, advertised by popstar and social media influencer Selena Gomez, along with the announcement of supermodel Adriana Lima as an ambassador for Women’s training.
Once again, the PUMA partnered teams – Mercedes-AMG Petronas, Scuderia FERRARI and Red Bull Racing – dominated the Formula One season, deciding the championship between themselves. Finally, the title was claimed by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, who also won the fifth drivers’ title of his career. More good news for PUMA Motorsport was the hype surrounding their lifestyle products, which were particularly tangible on the US and French markets.
In Golf, our players Rickie Fowler, Lexi Thompson and Bryson DeChambeau continued to add excitement to the brands PUMA and COBRA Golf, with their many sporting successes. Bryson DeChambeau, for instance, caused a stir with his ONE Length irons, achieving five tournament victories with this to-date unique technology, that provides all irons with the same length.