NBA, WNBA to sell licensed face coverings

The National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association have struck a deal with Fanatics to sell licensed cloth face coverings that will benefit charity.

Each of the major US sports properties thus far have resisted making licensed face coverings amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, believing such efforts could be seen as in poor taste. As a result, face coverings with sports team and league logos available to date at various online retailers have been unlicensed merchandise.

But the NBA, WNBA and e-commerce partner Fanatics will begin selling officially licensed face coverings produced by apparel licensees FOCO and Industry Rag on NBAStore.com, WNBAStore.com, and team e-commerce sites.

The face coverings will be available in logos for each league and their individual teams. The FOCO-made masks will be sold in packs of three for $24.99, while the Industry Rag-made items will be sold individual for $14.99.

All proceeds from the sales will be donated to Feeding America in the US and Second Harvest in Canada, charities seeking to fight hunger. Select NBA and WNBA teams will also participate in the fundraising, donating all of their proceeds from sales of the face coverings on their team e-commerce sites. Industry Rag and FOCO will additionally make additional donations to benefit the charities.

“As a global community, we can all play a role in reducing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic by following the [Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s] recommendation to cover our nose and mouth while in public,” said Kathy Behrens, NBA president of social responsibility and player programs. “Though this new product offering, NBA and WNBA fans can adhere to those guidelines in the league’s effort to aid those who have been directly affected by Covid-19.”

In addition to the CDC guidelines, numerous individual US states have made it mandatory for people to wear face coverings while in public or at a store.

“These face coverings are an important tool in this public health battle,” said Lori Nikkel, chief executive of Second Harvest.

Fanatics has been already involved in other charitable efforts seeking to address the impacts of the pandemic. It has shifted a factory in Pennsylvania that made Major League Baseball uniforms to produce protective masks and gowns for medical professionals. And founder and executive chairman Michael Rubin is spearheading an ambitious $100m fundraising effort called the All-In Challenge involving numerous star athletes and celebrities.