US sportswear brand Under Armour has today (Monday) secured its first-ever uniform deal with a professional league under a 10-year partnership with Major League Baseball that will include sports merchandise firm Fanatics.
Beginning in the 2020 MLB season, Under Armour will be the exclusive MLB provider of all on-field uniform components including jerseys featuring prominent Under Armour branding, baselayer, game-day outerwear, and year-round training apparel for all 30 MLB clubs.
Fanatics will be granted broad consumer product licensing rights to manage the manufacturing and distribution of Under Armour and Fanatics fan gear, which include jerseys at retail, name and number products and postseason apparel.
In addition to on-field uniforms, Under Armour will provide exclusive connected fitness offerings to MLB teams.
“This is a watershed moment for the Under Armour brand as this partnership with MLB and Fanatics furthers our collective dedication to bringing passion, energy and innovation to the game of baseball,” Kevin Plank, founder and chief executive of Under Armour, said. “Under Armour's goal is to engage and excite MLB's incredibly diverse fan-base across America and around the world, and grow the game for the next generation of great athletes.”
Under Armour and Fanatics will take over from Nike and Majestic as the official uniform partners for MLB, with ESPN.com stating the deal could commence sooner than 2020 should Majestic decide to exit early. Majestic currently has the main MLB uniform licence, while Nike has a deal for base-layer apparel.
Michael Rubin, executive chairman of Fanatics, said: “Both Fanatics and Under Armour get to do what each does best, while joining forces with an innovative and tech-savvy league to help grow the game of baseball through a pioneering new business model better suited to today's digital economy.”
Under Armour is a well-established partner of MLB, dating back to 2000 as an official baselayer supplier. The brand took the field with their first baseball cleat collection in 2006 and became the official performance footwear partner of MLB in 2011. Under Armour currently has over 400 individual athlete partnerships across the major and minor leagues. Fanatics also has a long partnership history with MLB, dating back to 2002.