Kerr is the face of the Matildas. Picture: AAP
Kerr is the face of the Matildas. Picture: AAP

Just get it: Nike, Sam Kerr and the missing millions

When you walk into the foyer at Nike headquarters and look up, you'll see a banner with Sam Kerr's image on it hanging from the ceiling.

A few months ago, Kerr was also front and centre of several Nike women's World Cup advertisements seen by millions. Last year when the new Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 boot was revealed, Kerr stood on a stage as one of three global ambassadors. The other two? Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

This week when Kerr signed a mega deal with Chelsea FC, she was celebrated on Nike Football Instagram account - 42.9 million followers - with the words "blazing her trail in the global game".

All these signs would make you think Kerr is a really big deal at Nike - except this column can reveal she is not on a big financial deal with Nike.

Sam Kerr during an Australian Matildas training session at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Monday, November 11, 2019. (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes) NO ARCHIVING
Sam Kerr during an Australian Matildas training session at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Monday, November 11, 2019. (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes) NO ARCHIVING

Several football sources confirmed to this column Kerr has unofficially become a global face of Nike on a very modest Nike Australia contract.

Some say the Matildas captain is the best footballer this country has produced.

One of the best basketballers this country has produced, Ben Simmons, recently inked a five-year $20 million deal with Nike. It will balloon to $40 million on bonuses if he hits some performance goals in his contract.

It would not be outrageous to speculate that what Kerr's Nike contract is worth is what Simmons would make in a couple of weeks on his humongous Nike deal.

While Kerr's standing in football keeps rising - she has again been nominated for the Ballon d'Or award for the best footballer in the world - sources say Nike has indicated Kerr shouldn't expect a greater financial recognition if she is to sign on with them again.

 

Sam Kerr announced during the week she’d signed with English super club Chelsea.
Sam Kerr announced during the week she’d signed with English super club Chelsea.

It was in March this year when Kerr was announced she would be the face of Nike Australia. That in promotions Kerr would be preferred to the likes of NBA all-star Ben Simmons, golfer Jason Day and English Premier League players Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan as the primary athlete used by the American sports manufacturer for their marketing in Australia.

It was all about Nike's push into women's sport - which has exploded in popularity. So, how about financially respecting the woman who has become one of Australia's most prolific sports stars?

 

 

 

 

Nike responded to questions by saying they did not comment on athlete contracts.

This column has been told by a number of football sources that there are still discussions going on with Kerr - but some hard questions have to be asked of the Nike executives.

Nike haven't had a great year when it comes to the way women are treated.

 

 

Kerr is the face of the Matildas. Picture: AAP
Kerr is the face of the Matildas. Picture: AAP

In May, Nike was slammed by female athletes such as six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix and Olympic runner Alysia Montaño, in New York Times op-eds, for penalising female athletes who decide to have children by reducing their sponsorship pay during pregnancy.

Nike responded that "a few female athletes had performance-based reductions applied".

Not long after, due to fierce backlash, Nike came to their senses.

They made changes to its maternity policy for sponsored athletes. The Nike policy adjustment ensures female athletes won't be "adversely impacted financially for pregnancy" for 18 months, which is six months more than under the previous policy.

Kerr's Chelsea contract she signed this week is understood to worth in the vicinity of $2 million. The move to the iconic London club is the final brick in making her a global football star. The deal with Chelsea makes her one of the highest-paid female footballers in the world. Rightfully, so. Her worth has been respected.

If only one of the biggest sportswear companies would just get it.