NHL signs innovative apparel retail deal with Fanatics

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The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced a long term deal with Fanatics that will designate Fanatics the official manufacturer of NHL apparel, including replica jerseys.

Hockey fans buying a replica jersey of their favorite NHL teams from the next season will now have a Fanatics logo at the bottom of their jersey, instead of Adidas, which is the the NHL’s official jersey provider.

The deal will begin in October 2017, ahead of the hockey season.  For Adidas, whose new seven-year deal with NHL starts next season, this deal helps get the branding benefits on the jersey exterior on the players but they not have to worry about making jerseys for fans which requires significant infrastructure investment. Its branding with the league stays intact but for retail sales the market will now be split.

There have been no details of how much Fanatics may have paid for the deal but some reports suggested that the deal could last 16 years.

Fanatics is the biggest online seller of licenced sports apparel in the US and has the right to manufacture replicas jersey and locker room apparel. NHL is hoping that it can help expand the market because Fanatics jerseys are priced lower than the ones which have the Adidas logo on it.

This is the second deal of its kind that Fanatics has signed in recent day. It had earlier signed up with Major League Baseball (MLB) which allows Fanatics to be the league’s jersey retailer beginning 2020, the year from when Under Armour will be the brand that will display on the players’ uniforms.

Sports apparel manufacturers focus on sporting events and stars to promote their products and hence such deals, potentially can have a huge impact on sales for any brand. The model looks promising for a country like India since the expensive sports gear promoted by sports apparel companies has a very limited market.

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