Major League Baseball this morning announced they have made their long-rumoured deal with Nike official, beginning with the 2020 season Nike will replace Majestic as the exclusive on-field provider of MLB uniforms.
Nike’s deal with MLB lasts ten years and, in addition to the uniform, includes baselayer gear such as undershirts, game-day outerwear like the hoodies and jackets you see in the dugout, and all training apparel — the BP and Spring Training jerseys, shirts and such worn by players in locker room or while working out at the stadium.
In December 2016, the league had announced a similar deal with Under Armour set to begin in either the 2019 or 2020 season; UA was later forced to back out of the agreement leaving the window open for Nike to win the contract. The original deal with UA called for the placement of their logo on the upper right chest of the jersey, shifting over from the sleeve as has been the spot for Majestic et al logos over the course of the last 15+ years. While today’s announcement mentions the “Swoosh” will be added to each team’s jersey, it doesn’t say where the logo will be placed.
In concert with the Nike news, the league also announced Fanatics has been granted “broad consumer product licensing rights” to take care of the creation and retail side of the new Nike MLB Authentic Collection, as well as the retail-only Nike and Fanatics merchandise sold at MLBShop, team stores, and the various other physical sports shops. Fanatics will also handle the replica jerseys and Postseason merchandise. Overall it sounds a bit like the NHL’s deal with Fanatics and Adidas.
“Nike’s global brand and reputation as a leader in marketing and driving innovation makes them an ideal partner,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in the press release. “In addition, Fanatics is a valuable partner who has proven to serve our fans with speed, agility and quality service. We’re very excited about the possibilities this unique arrangement provides us over the next decade.”
The deal officially marks this upcoming season as the end of the Majestic-era in Major League Baseball, Majestic had been the exclusive on-field uniform provider since 2005, also handling the dugout jackets and hoodies. Majestic and MLB had last extended their deal through to the end of 2019 just prior to the 2015 season but had been working together since providing batting practice jerseys in 1982.
When the deal with Under Armour was announced in 2016, Commissioner Robert Manfred said at the time that they “appreciate Majestic’s many contributions to our clubs, players, and fans throughout our partnership”.