Local ShoppingFanatics is NHL’s new uniform supplier

Fanatics is NHL’s new uniform supplier

Dive Brief:

  • The National Hockey League on Tuesday announced that sports apparel retailer Fanatics will provide on-ice uniforms for players and supply jerseys at retail. The 10-year agreement begins with the 2024-25 season. 
  • Fanatics replaces Adidas, which has been the official uniform provider since the 2017-2018 season. Adidas chose not to continue its NHL jersey deal after its contract expires after the 2023-24 season.
  • Fanatics said its partnership with the NHL has evolved over the past two decades to include e-commerce, retail operations, replica jerseys and other apparel. CEO Michael Rubin called the expanded partnership “a seminal moment” for the apparel company.

Dive Insight:

When players on the NHL’s 32 teams hit the ice fnevor the 2024-25, they’ll be in Fanatics apparel. Fanatics has designed and manufactured the NHL’s official performance, training apparel and headwear for NHL players since 2018.

Through a partnership expansion in 2017, the company began producing official NHL replica jerseys. Fanatics also runs NHLShop.com and on-site retail at some NHL events, according to ESPN. The apparel company also began making and supplying MLB’s official on-field uniforms in 2017.

In a statement, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called Fanatics an “industry market leader” that has a “proven track record in e-commerce and retail operations, licensed fan merchandise and performance gear.”

The sports apparel company said it has assembled “an experienced team of hockey industry leaders with decades of direct experience working with the NHL and its teams,” and that it will work closely with the league “to prepare for the debut of its on-ice uniforms during the 2024-25 season.” Doug Mack, CEO of Fanatics Commerce, said in an NHL news release that changes to uniform outfitting and fan apparel will be player-driven. 

The NHL’s game jerseys are made in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, near Montreal. The league said Fanatics will continue using the same factory, the same specs, and initially, the company will continue using some of the same fabrics.

In terms of the retail experience, Fanatics said that it will apply its vertical commerce model to the new NHL jerseys, which will allow fans to buy products in real-time, allowing them, for example, to buy something if a team acquires a player.

“We think we’ll be uniquely positioned to capitalize and grow the business,” said Brian Jennings, the NHL’s senior executive vice president of marketing and chief branding officer.

“What we anticipate is a professional and seamless transition,” Jennings said. “We’ll have a pivot point and move on over to Fanatics for the ’24-25 season with that same thrust for our event designs and team designs being at the forefront.”

While the deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, the sports apparel market reached a valuation of $200 billion this year, according to market research firm Fact.MR. The firm said the market is expected to continue growing, potentially reaching $400 billion by 2032.

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