Nike is making a strategic shift in how it makes NCAA clothing

NCAA Georgia Bulldogs partners with Nike

Credit: Fanatics

Sports commerce platform Fanatics enters into long-term partnership with Nike to produce sportswear for college fans.

The partnership will include collaboration with the Fanatics College division, which already has partnerships with most Nike-sponsored colleges and universities. Production should begin in the summer of 2024, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Fanatics provided CNBC with a statement from Fanatics Commerce CEO Doug Mack saying they are “excited to maximize the value of Nike’s college partnerships” but declined to comment further.

Nike said in a statement that it is making strategic changes to how it serves NCAA collegiate partners and is expanding its licensing relationship with Fanatics and Branded Custom Sportswear, another collegiate partner, to include retailing Nike NCAA fan apparel and related merchandise.

Nike has some of the largest contracts with top college athletic programs to outfit their high school teams worth millions of dollars. According to Sports Business Journal, Nike and its brand Jordan provided 48 teams in the latest NCAA Basketball Tournament, the most ever. It also equips over half of the Division I football programs.

According to sources, Nike will continue to produce apparel and merchandise for its college teammates, including on-field apparel.

Fanatics will produce apparel, replica jerseys, secondary clothing, headwear, and women’s gear, among other things. According to sources, the new Fanatics deal will include a select group of Nike partners from colleges and universities, including the states of Ohio, Georgia, Clemson, Oregon, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. among the objectives of the partnership.

The Fanatics already have exclusive licensing deals with the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and various colleges and universities. Some of those deals, including the NFL, NBA and MLB, also overlap with Nike’s jersey and apparel deals.

Fanatics is a major center for sporting goods, as well as sports-themed home, office and automotive products. The company is also expanding into online sports betting. triple CNBC 50 Destroyer The company has a private valuation of $27 billion.

The company has made several acquisitions in recent years as a private company. In 2020 acquired sporting goods manufacturer WinCraft.and earlier this year he bought the Topps trading card company for 500 million dollars. Last month, CNBC reported that the Fanatics is negotiating the purchase of the betting company Tipicoalthough a deal has yet to be reached.

Topps will launch a line of trading cards featuring college athletes for the upcoming fall season, in a deal that parent company Fanatics says will cut some players’ profits and pair them with school card logos for the first time. More than 150 schools will take part in the program, in which both current and former athletes participate. The company has also made deals with more than 200 student-athletes at these schools to use their names and likenesses. According to fanatics, the plans are to keep adding schools and athletes.

Most Power Five conference schools will be participating in the new Fanatics trading card deal, including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon and Texas A&M.

Newly expanded rules for name, image, and likeness allowed college athletes to sign sponsorship deals, opening up additional apparel and merchandise options. Fanatics recently struck a deal that will allow fans to purchase custom college football jerseys with the names and number of active players who will be compensated.