The Pele Pact and its Dramatic Ending

The origin of the Puma brand goes back to 1948. Rudolph Dassler, the company’s founder, had split from a business partnership with his elder brother, Adi Dassler. The name of the business partnership? You guessed it, Adidas.

Battle of the Boots

The two brothers fought a ruthless war for market share in the global sportswear and footwear market. During the 1960s the conflict escalated, reaching a certain climax during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City when Adidas is said to have had Puma sneakers confiscated by Mexican customs officials. No love was lost between the two brothers.

The Pele Pact

Before the 1970 World Cup, Adidas and Puma reached a peace treaty. To prevent incidents similar to the one from two years before, the companies negotiated a standoff.

A critical part of the negotiation was the so-called Pele Pact. Pele was the star of the tournament and in order to prevent a bidding war for a sponsorship deal, both companies agreed to that neither would attempt to sign the Brazilian star.

As it turned out, Pele led his nation all the way to the final of the 1970 World Cup. As the Brazilan team prepared to square off against its Italian rivals, moments before the kick-off, the referee prepared to blow the opening whistle.

With a record number of people from all across the globe, glued in front of the TV, Pele motions to the referee. He bends down to tie his football boots. The TV cameras zoom in on him, broadcasting this epic moment across the globe.

Millions watch the Brazilian legend leisurely tie his Puma boots.

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