Every player in the NFL will change jerseys beginning in April 2012.
Nike, the world’s largest sports apparel company, will expand its empire to the NFL when it becomes the official producer of all on-field apparel and fan gear, according to the Boston Globe.
Reebok, the current partner of the NFL, will lose its deal to Nike and suffer a major sales hit. Estimates from Citigroup Inc. say that $350 million of Reebok’s $565 million annual US sales comes from the contract with the NFL.
“This is a major win for Nike and a significant loss for Reebok,’’ Stephen A. Greyser, a sports branding professor at Harvard Business School, told the newspaper.
Reebok,which was bought by Adidas in 2006 for $3.8 billion, has been the official provider of the league since 2001. Despite losing the NFL, they still have licensing deals with the NHL, MLB, MLS, and NCAA universities. However, none of those leagues match the profits of the NFL.
“Reebok has enjoyed a long and very successful NFL partnership. Over the last decade, we have revolutionized and modernized the sports licensing business,’’ a company statement said. “We are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish together.’’
The NFL did not get in-depth as to why the league made the switch, but Eric Grubman, the NFL’s executive vice president of NFL ventures and business operation, said in an emailed statement, “The new framework will provide fans with a wider breadth of merchandise from global category leaders in the sports licensed apparel industry.”
Reebok will continue to license NFL apparel for the remainder of the 2010 season as well as 2011.