When an entire sports league’s fans band together in outrage, you know there’s an issue.
This time it’s not NBA or NFL fans complaining but the NHL, whose fans are upset that the league has signed a deal that replaces adidas with Fanatics as the official gear supplier.
The three-stripes deal ends with the 2023-2024 season, and the following year will kick off Fanatics’ 10-year tenure.
The 10-year deal strengthens Fanatics’ relationship with the NHL, which already ran the league’s e-commerce site and has long been the supplier of sports gear in the NBA and NFL for almost 20 years.
However, Doug Mack, CEO of Fanatics commerce, told ESPN that despite already being in business with the NHL, that wasn’t the sole reason for the new contract.
“It was never, ‘If you do well on this, this is what happens next,'” Mack said. “I think there was us doing all that, Adidas doing the on-ice items. But as things unfolded over time, it was more the NHL seeing what we’ve done and approaching us to say, ‘Are you up for taking this next step?'”
Billionaire businessman and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin is ready to see what the partnership yields and continue lacing fans and professional athletes alike.
“This is a seminal moment in the history of Fanatics, and a testament to the hands-on, collaborative relationship with the NHL that we’ve built over the years,” Rubin said in the press release. “In addition to our tireless commitment to super serving sports fans around the world, Fanatics has equipped athletes, coaches and team staffs with performance products across many sports for years. Everything we do as a company pushes the boundaries to create more highly engaged experiences and revolutionary products for fans, athletes, and partners, and I can’t wait to see our brand on official on-ice uniforms for the first time.”
Rubin’s Fanatics brand growth can also be credited to his recent majority stake purchase of Mitchell & Ness, which CNBC values at $250 million. Among other investors, Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Lil Baby and Maverick Carter own the remaining 25%.
Now that adidas is calling it quits, NHL fans aren’t happy about the Fanatics supplying the uniforms after citing quality issues. See the reactions below.
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