Under Armour, Fanatics and MLB said today they have joined together in a 10-year alliance that makes Under Armor the official uniform provider for MLB beginning with the 2020 season.
As part of Under Armour’s first pro uniform deal, the company would become the exclusive MLB provider of all on-field uniform components including jerseys that will feature “prominent Under Armour branding,” baselayer, game-day outerwear and year-round training apparel for all 30 MLB Clubs.
Financial terms of the alliance were not shared.
The partnership was unveiled during MLB’s Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Md.
"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," said Kevin Plank, founder and CEO for Under Armour at a media event. "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."
The Under Armour deal will mean the end of MLB’s alliance with both uniform supplier Majestic, which dates back to 1982, and a base-layer apparel deal with Nike.
Fanatics, a global leader of licensed sports merchandise, gains “broad consumer product licensing rights” to manage the manufacturing and distribution of Under Armour and Fanatics fan gear.
That includes jerseys at retail, name and number products and playoff and World Series apparel.
Under Armour and Fanatics said they expect “an assortment of new fan gear apparel and accessories at retail, prior to the 2020 season” as well as multi-media marketing support as the alliance kicks in.
Under Armour has worked with MLB since 2000 as an official baselayer supplier, then in 2011 became the league’s official performance footwear partner.
Under Armour already has deals with MLB players including 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, 2016 All-Star Game MVP Eric Hosmer, Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey and Bryce Harper.
Fanatics operates more than 300 online and offline stores, including the e-commerce business for MLB, MLS, Nascar, NBA, NFL, NHL and PGA; media brands NBC Sports, CBS Sports and Fox Sports; and more than 200 collegiate and global pro teams.
According to Michael Rubin, executive chairman for Fanatics, "This partnership epitomizes our next-generation model, which brings much-needed agility to the industry, enhancing both assortment and speed-to-market of MLB merchandise for teams, fans and retailers.
“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,” said Rubin.
Majestic began suppling with MLB with batting practice jerseys in 1982 and became an official partner in 1984. In 2004, Majestic become the exclusive supplier of on-field jerseys for all 30 MLB teams.
Said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, "Under Armour's marketing ability and brand status are a perfect fit to showcase our players and provide an even stronger connection between our game and its young fans and players. We appreciate Majestic's many contributions to our clubs, players and fans throughout our partnership."