Dustin Martin photo exposes $500,000 sponsorship sacrifice

Dustin Martin and PUMA have ended their lucrative sponsorship agreement, just one year into their four-year deal.

Martin has been wearing PUMA boots for the last five years, and re-signed with the apparel giants after his incredible year in 2017.

The new deal was believed to be worth around $500,000, however that is no more.

Martin was wearing Nike boots on Saturday night, and PUMA released a statement on Monday confirming the split.

“PUMA have been working closely with Martin through a transition period to the new syle of boot but through this process it has been agreed upon by both parties to end the relationship,” the statement read.

“We have loved working with Dustin and watching him go from strength to strength throughout his career,” PUMA Oceania General Manager Pancho Gutstein said.

“For the moment, our journey with Dustin has come to an end and we wish him all the best for the remainder of the 2019 season and for what the future holds.”

Martin previously spoke of his joy after re-signing with the brand, which counts Usain Bolt and Rihanna among its other ambassadors.

“To be considered by a global brand to be in the same category as people like Bolt and Rihanna is really humbling, and I’m proud to be part of the PUMA team for the next 4 years,” he said last year.

Dustin Martin wearing Nike on Saturday night, and in Puma boots in 2018. Image: Getty

‘Finding the best boot’

Channel 7’s Tom Browne broke the news on Talking Footy on Monday night, and on Tuesday said the curious development was simply about Martin finding the best boot after PUMA stopped manufacturing the design he wore in 2017.

“Martin has sacrificed money and is solely motivated by finding the best boot possible,” Browne said.

“He hasn’t done a new deal, and doesn’t propose to do one this year, while he finds the best boot.”

The 2017 Brownlow Medallist hasn’t been able to recapture his scintillating form of two years ago, when he won a grand final and Norm Smith Medal as well.

He’s suffered a somewhat slow start to 2019, which has been derailed by a suspension and a fine for an obscene gesture.

“Martin is obviously leaving no stone unturned in search of his best footy,” according to Browne.

“Sources say Martin hasn’t fallen in love with a new model (of boot) since.”