Puma was founded in 1948 by Rudolf Dassler (brother to Adolf Dassler the founder of Adidas) after the 2 brother's split due to strife. Already during the World Cup 1958 in Sweden Puma is involved in supplying footwear to several of the players. Throughout the years Puma has been the footwear sponsor to several of the all time greatest soccer players: Pele , Cruyff , Eusebio , Maradona , Matthäus , Buffon and many more. Like Adidas the company still has its' HQ in the small Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach. Since 2007 Puma has launched a programme called "United for Africa" which is trying to provide assistance to Africa by various different kinds of aid programmes. Puma is also sponsoring a number of national teams in Africa and is surely hoping to be well-represented for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. In 2006 Puma was enlisted on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index where companies living up to certain standards can be listed. Puma has seen its' involvement in endorsement deals of soccer teams increase throughout the past decade. Puma took over the Italian national team from Kappa in 2003. Tottenham was signed in 2006. One of the longest deals currently running is with Italian Serie A club SS Lazio. Puma has been the technical sponsor of Lazio since 1998.
Though Puma has probably been more successful in securing presence during the major international competitions such as the EURO , the World Cup , and the African Nation's Cup they have also been signing a number of club teams over the recent years. Puma is increasingly manifesting itself as the main alternative to the big two (Nike and Adidas) and while most of the top teams are out of reach the second tier teams are increasingly wearing Puma. Puma even made an attempt to sign FC Barcelona but in the end the club decided to stay with Nike.
Starting from the season 2009/10 Puma will be the official supplier of the LFP match ball for the French Ligue 1. The endorsement of match balls for the various leagues and tournements has been helt in a firm grib by Adidas (UEFA Champions League , and EURO + FIFA World Cup) + Nike (Premier League , La Liga , Serie A). But the French market is among the biggest in Europe of soccer goods and therefore it is not an unimportant deal though the league is less high profile than the "3 big leagues" + the Bundesliga.
Puma started off as a producer of athletic footwear. And even though it has later started to produce a mixed bag og athletic and lifestyle products its' core competence is still in the footwear division. KING a boot worn by e.g. Pele was an early success and many others have followed.