NFL, Nike ink deal with Fanatics to make fan jerseys

The National Football League announced on Wednesday that it reached a product licensing deal with Fanatics, allowing the online sports retailer to make jerseys for fans.

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The 10-year pact gives Fanatics the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute all Nike-branded NFL adult products, including jerseys, sideline apparel and fan gear. The merchandise will be sold through brick-and-mortar stores and the NFL’s online shop, among other retailers.

The deal begins with the 2020 season.

Nike will continue to design and manufacture authentic, on-field jerseys. The sportswear giant previously scored a deal with the NFL to be the exclusive supplier of uniforms and other apparel worn by players on the field and the sidelines.

In a statement, the league said splitting apparel duties between Nike and Fanatics will “showcase a new model for licensed sports merchandise.”

“By emphasizing the strengths of both Nike and Fanatics, we have a model that gives us the ability to offer superior on-field products to the teams and the nimbleness to serve the increasingly real-time expectations of today’s fans who have more control over their choices,” said Michelle Micone, senior vice president of consumer products for the NFL.

Fanatics was valued at $4.5 billion following an investment round in September, according to ESPN. NFL owners hold a small ownership stake in the company.

The NFL deal isn’t Fanatics’ first foray into producing licensed apparel. The company, which acquired Majestic Athletic last year, already makes on- and off-field jerseys for Major League Baseball. When Under Armour’s MLB jersey deal takes effect in 2020, Fanatics will make jerseys with the Under Armour logo.