More than 100 NRL players, will be forced to buy their own boots this year amid COVID-19 cutbacks from sports giants including Nike, according to the Daily Telegraph.
As the start of the 2021 season rapidly approaches, News Corp reports that some leading companies have cut “product in kind” sponsorships by more than 50 per cent in a move that will see players, including State of Origin stars, fork out around $400 for a pair of boots.
Nike’s top-of-the-range boot is the Phantom GT Elite custom which retails for $410 while the Adidas Predator Freak retails for $400.
Marquee stars such as James Tedesco and Jason Taumalolo are still expected to receive the latest in sports apparel for the upcoming season, but the rest of the NRL’s run-of-the-mill cohort will have to front the cost this year.
A leading player-manager told the Daily Telegraph that a State of Origin player on his books had been denied a product deal with a leading company.
“Even Origin players are being knocked back,” the manager told News Corp.
“There have been some massive cutbacks with one company going from 120 NRL players to 40. That was two-thirds of their NRL roster. I know it is a similar situation with the other big companies. I lot of guys have been flicked and we have been scrambling to sort them out.”
Both Nike and Addidas have refused to confirm nor deny the development.