In Under Armour’s 20-year history, one milestone has eluded it: the coveted major-league wide endorsement deal.
No longer, as MLB and Under Armour just announced they entered into the a 10-year long exclusive deal to design and manufacture the uniforms for all 30 teams. In addition to on-field uniforms, the deal includes base layers and game day outerwear.
The deal will commence in 2020, and current MLB uniform maker Majestic Athletics’s 5-year deal expires. Financial terms for the deal were not revealed. Also announced for the deal: ecommerce platform Fanatics will become official retailer and distributor for the MLB uniforms.
Under Armour previously had deals to provide base layers, cleats, and other equipment officially for the MLB uniform kits.
Deals like these are increasingly important for sportswear makers looking to cash in on official replica uniform sales and the halo effect it creates. Increased competition has led to higher price tags on the deals, and the last major league endorsement deal — Nike’s 8-year deal with the NBA signed in 2015 and taking over for Adidas in the 2017-18 season — was valued at more than $1 billion, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
Nike also has a exclusive deal with the NFL. Adidas-owned Reebok has an exclusive deal with NHL, while the mainline Adidas brand has a deal with Major League Soccer.
The MLB and Under Armour deal represents a shift in strategy for the brand, who previously focused on sponsoring NCAA teams and inking deals with athletes before they hit their prime.
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