I often get asked why I have a partnership with Puma, beyond the amazingly cool products they make. It’s not always understood what goes on behind the scenes at Puma and how much development is going on with their footwear line. It’s not new news that Bolt has renewed with Puma and there will be plenty of Press Releases you can read about that on Puma Running. This came along with the PR stuff and I wanted to share it because it shows the essential ethos of an incredible company to work with. For me the highlights of working with Puma are that I have had a long standing relationship with them, that their products improve year on year, that they have been there for me when I really needed help to get to races and that they value the input I give back in terms of footwear design, clothing cuts, etc.
They are a company who listen. They get involved for years, not seasons. They have a long term approach. They are truly fighting to be as “green” as possible. They are unbelievably freaking cool.
Read the questions and answers below, from the media. You sense there is a deep seated relationship between Bolt and Puma. Like a family. It’s exactly how I feel about them. Thank you.
Usain Bolt Media Q&A
Q. So you’ve re-signed with PUMA, how much are you making off this
A. PUMA and I have reached financial terms that are mutually agreeable, but we aren’t giving out actual numbers.
Q. There are reports saying you that this is the largest sum ever given to a Track and Field athlete. Is this true?
A. I don’t have any way of knowing what the other athletes make, but people tell me this is the largest deal for Track & Field. People also tell me it’s up there with what athletes in other sports get, too. I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity with PUMA.
Q. How do you feel about setting a new financial high water mark for your sport?
A. It feels great. My entire career has been focused on training hard and delivering results that the world hasn’t ever seen before. I feel like the world is finally watching Track & Field, and not just during Olympic years like they did before. They are taking a real interest and becoming more involved in our sport. So with a sponsorship deal of this magnitude that PUMA has given me, it says something very positive about the rising profile of the sport. It says that track and field has reached the big leagues.
Q. Is there a bonus structure in place whereby you get paid more for wins or world records?
A. Yes. This is a typical part of a Track & Field contract, as it is in many other sports.
Q. How much money do you expect to generate in performance bonuses during next season?
A. It’s hard to know. Obviously, it’s dependent on how well I compete. This year has been difficult for me from a fitness perspective, and I have a lot of training ahead to get back to 100%, and compete at the level I know I can. But I still have a lot I want to accomplish, so I’m very motivated to stay focused and push myself to be in top form.
Q. Can you talk about some of the other terms of this agreement with PUMA? What’s the length of this new contract?
A. This particular contract runs through to the end of 2013. The other aspects of the contract are confidential, as most contracts are.
Q. What will you do with the PUMA brand moving forward?
A. I’ll do some photo shoots and media things with them for new campaigns and products. We’ll continue to collaborate on product design, for my spikes and the Bolt Collection clothes, shoes and accessories. They’ve planned some really cool things starting next year ahead of the World Championships and leading up to the Olympics, which I’m really excited about. PUMA know how to take track and field athletics and open it up to a wider audience in creative ways, and take it away from the track into other lifestyle areas. It’ll be a lot of fun being a part of these things.
Q. Do you make a percentage through sales of the Bolt Collection? If so, how much and what’s the percentage?
A. Yes I do get a percentage, but I can’t disclose what specifically
Q. As part of this contract, will the Bolt Collection become its own sub-brand of PUMA like the Jordan brand did with Nike?
A. We have big plans for the Bolt Collection moving forward. It’s a project that’s close to my heart, I’ve enjoyed working with PUMA on its development so far and we’ve got some great ideas of how to take it forward. It’s too early to relate it to Jordan and Nike, but I’m very involved in the whole development and I really want it to be a big success.
Q. Can you tell us more about PUMA’s 2012 London Olympic plans?
A. Not me. That’s for PUMA to tell you.
Q. We’ve heard reports about other sports apparel companies courting you for sponsorships, is this true and can you tell us who they are?
A. That’s the nature of the business, companies come calling. My agent has received a number of enquiries, but we are very happy with PUMA and the conditions of this contract.
Q. Why PUMA?
A. I’ve been working with PUMA since I was 16. They’ve supported me when I was relatively unknown, even during early injuries. PUMA has been a great partner. We fit together. They get me and my approach to training and competing. We bring something different to the table. Obviously, there’s high performance, but we also make sure to have fun along the way.
Q. You also have endorsement deals with Gatorade, Hublot, Nasuba and Digicel. What would you say your total income is when you factor them in with the PUMA contract?
A. I’m doing okay. I’m comfortable and planning for the future. The average length of a sprinter’s career is short, so you have to be smart with endorsements and money management so that all of this hard work now will help carry me into the future.
Q. How are you spending all this money?
A. Like anyone else would. I save for the future. I help out my family and friends. I’ve got a great home in Jamaica.
Q. Is there anything you indulge in specifically?
A. I’m a pretty simple, laid back guy. I don’t need a lot. I guess the one thing I do like to treat myself with is cars. I’m a car guy.
Q. Some people have concerns that PUMA is exploiting Jamaican athletes and culture. Do you believe this is true?
A. How would they be exploiting Jamaica? That’s not been my experience. PUMA has been a sponsor of the Jamaican Olympic team for years. They’ve sponsored me since I was 16. They are also key partners with the Jamaican Amateur Athletics Association, the JAAA, which is the governing body for Athletics in my country. PUMA has worked with them closely for a long time, and also supports youth athletics, by creating track & field programs at the high school level, providing equipment, sponsoring major tournaments like the ISSA Boys & Girls Champs. The company has invested a lot in both Jamaica and in its athletes, and this helps Jamaica achieve great results on the track.
Q. Have your recent back troubles and pulling out of the end of the season made you less attractive to sponsor and endorsement deals?
A. No. PUMA has been with me since the beginning. They know what I’m capable of and they take the long-term view. Every athlete has to face the fact that their body may suffer stress during a season. Pulling out of the last two races will give me a chance to focus on rehabilitation and prevent greater injury that could be career ending. It’s the right thing to do so I can come back next year and really be at my best.
Q. Was this deal signed before or after your injury problems? Has PUMA tried to renegotiate terms following news of your injury?
A. I can’t say specifically when the deal was signed, but there was no renegotiation because of my injury. PUMA isn’t like that, they like me are looking ahead, not in the past.
Q. What are your plans post 2012 Olympics? Are you planning to review the contract once it expires in 2013?
A. I don’t have plans yet. I’ll see how the next couple of years go, I really want to do well in the World Championships and Olympics and get gold medals again in both. I’ll see how I feel after that, but I’m not going to think about that now.