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Nike, Fanatics take NFL licensing deal onto global stage

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: NFL merchandise on sale ahead of the NFL International Series match between Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on October 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

The NFL, Nike and Fanatics have signed a new global partnership that extends Fanatics’ exclusive consumer product licensing rights to manufacture and distribute all Nike NFL adult products worldwide.

The agreement is an enhancement to the US-only deal signed in 2018. The partnership model splits responsibilities between Nike, which outfits the players and coaches, and Fanatics, which outfits the fans.

The announcement follows a successful NFL London Games series in October, which saw Fanatics and the NFL deliver record sales results at the Wembley Tailgate Retail store operated by Fanatics.

Sales for the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans at Wembley Stadium beat the record set the previous weekend during the game between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Damani Leech, chief operating officer of international for the NFL, said: “Now our growing fanbase in cities such as London and Shanghai will have the same quick access to the widest selection of the latest merchandise as their counterparts here in the United States.”

To serve the global market, Fanatics has offices, manufacturing and distribution facilities in China, Japan, Spain, Germany, UK, Korea, US, Canada, India and Hong Kong.

Fanatics will operate local NFLShop sites across key NFL international markets, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Germany and China.

Read this: All upside for NFL from ‘win-win’ Nike-Fanatics deal

Nike has partnered the NFL since 2012, when it took over as the league’s official uniform provider from adidas-owned brand Reebok, initially paying $1.1bn (€1bn) over five years, from 2012 to 2016.

That deal was extended without an auction from 2017 to 2019, reportedly with no significant changes in the contract, but with payments frontloaded.

In March 2018, Nike extended again, this time for eight years, from 2020 to 2028.

Manufacturing and distribution rights to all Nike-branded NFL fan merchandise in the US were ceded to Fanatics under a 10-year licensing deal, from 2020 to 2030, signed in May 2018.

Fanatics partners with more than 300 sporting organisations around the world including the FA, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, Real Madrid, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, Manchester City, Manchester United, and The European Tour.