MLB partners with Under Armour and Fanatics to build on global growth and drive continued passion for baseball
Today, Under Armour (NYSE: UA, UA.C), Fanatics and Major League Baseball (MLB) announce a 10-year partnership that names the global performance brand as the official uniform provider to MLB, marking Under Armour’s first-ever professional league uniform deal. The three organizations joining together introduces a new revolutionary model defined by its vision for-and investment in-serving millions of fans and players at all stages of the game. The collaborative partnership will provide cutting-edge on-field apparel for players, as well as the most responsive and significant merchandise assortment ever available for fans.
Beginning in the 2020 MLB season, Under Armour will be the exclusive MLB provider of all on-field uniform components including jerseys featuring prominent Under Armour branding, baselayer, game-day outerwear, and year-round training apparel for all 30 MLB Clubs. Fanatics, a global leader of licensed sports merchandise, will be granted broad consumer product licensing rights to manage the manufacturing and distribution of Under Armour and Fanatics fan gear, which include jerseys at retail, name & number products and Postseason apparel. Under Armour and Fanatics expect to offer an assortment of new fan gear apparel and accessories at retail, prior to the 2020 season.
Under Armour’s mission of making all athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation will be apparent through all aspects of this partnership. In addition to innovative on-field uniforms, Under Armour will provide exclusive Connected Fitness offerings to MLB teams, which will power and provide athletes with state-of-the-art technology designed to inform and strengthen player performance.
“Under Armour is proud of our long-standing relationship with MLB and we look forward to this exciting next chapter. 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, Under Armour. “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 intensity, excitement and unscripted dramatic appeal of the game – demonstrated by another thrilling MLB postseason and the historic 2016 World Series – has driven global growth and popularity for MLB. Positioning a historic sport institution and its constant drive to expand fans’ access points to the game through technology innovation, alongside a young, fearless and driven sports brand and best-in-class licensing experts, provides enormous opportunity to grow every level of the game through this strategic partnership.
“We are excited to build on our partnership with Under Armour, a powerful global brand that continues to grow exponentially, and Fanatics, an industry leader in sports licensing,” said Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “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.”
“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.” said Michael Rubin, executive chairman of Fanatics. “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.”
Under Armour is a well-established partner of MLB, dating back to 2000 as an official baselayer supplier. The brand took the field with their first baseball cleat collection in 2006 and became the official performance footwear partner of MLB in 2011. Under Armour currently has over 400 individual athlete partnerships across the major and minor leagues, including 2012 National League MVP Buster Posey, 2014 National League MVP and three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, 2015 National League MVP Bryce Harper, 2016 All-Star Game MVP Eric Hosmer and 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello. Fanatics also has a long partnership history with MLB, dating back to 2002. This historic partnership will commence in the 2020 MLB season.
About Under Armour, Inc.
Under Armour (NYSE:UA, UA.C), the originator of performance footwear, apparel and equipment, revolutionized how athletes across the world dress. Designed to make all athletes better, the brand’s innovative products are sold worldwide to athletes at all levels. The Under Armour Connected Fitness™ platform powers the world’s largest digital health and fitness community through a suite of applications: UA Record, MapMyFitness, Endomondo and MyFitnessPal. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland. For further information, please visit the Company’s website at www.uabiz.com.
Fanatics is the global leader for officially licensed sports merchandise. As a Top 50 Internet Retailer Company, Fanatics comprises the broadest online assortment by offering hundreds of thousands of officially licensed items via its Fanatics, FansEdge and Kitbag brands, as well as the largest selection of sports collectibles and memorabilia through Fanatics Authentic. A multi-channel company, Fanatics operates more than 300 online and offline stores, including the e-commerce business for all major professional sports leagues (MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA), major media brands (NBC Sports, CBS Sports, FOX Sports) and more than 200 collegiate and professional team properties, which include several of the biggest global soccer clubs (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City). Fanatics Branded, the company’s in-house merchandise division and licensed partner with all the major sports leagues, helps fans express passion with unique styles and designs. The company’s in-venue and event retail portfolio includes the NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, Kentucky Derby, The Ryder Cup, Manchester City, Texas Longhorns, Pittsburgh Pirates and New Jersey Devils among others, allowing fans to experience a seamless shopping experience across online, mobile and physical store locations.
MLB is the most historic professional sports league in the United States and consists of 30 member clubs in the U.S. and Canada, representing the highest level of professional baseball. It is the best-attended sport in North America, and since 2004, MLB has enjoyed its best-attended seasons in the history of the game, with each regular season eclipsing the 73 million mark. Now led by Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., MLB currently features record levels of labor peace, competitive balance and industry revenues, as well as the most comprehensive drug-testing program in American professional sports. MLB remains committed to making an impact in the communities of the U.S., Canada and throughout the world, perpetuating the sport’s larger role in society and permeating every facet of baseball’s business, marketing and community relations endeavors. With the continued success of MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network, MLB continues to find innovative ways for its fans to enjoy America’s National Pastime and a truly global game. For more information on MLB, visit MLB.com.