It’s been a big year for Kevin Plank, and not just because his development firm been given the nod to transform an entire section of South Baltimore for decades to come. Plank’s Locust Point-based global sportswear brand today confirmed reports from six weeks ago that it’s signed a 10-year licensing deal to make Major League Baseball’s game-worn uniforms.
As we previously shared, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Daily first reported in October that Under Armour, the MLB and athletic apparel retailer Fanatics had reached a licensing deal, though neither the league nor either company had made it public knowledge. Under the contract, Under Armour will make all jerseys, baselayers, outerwear and training apparel for the MLB’s 30 franchises starting with the 2020 season. Fanatics, meanwhile, will get “broad consumer product licensing rights” to make and sell MLB fan gear, according to a release from Under Armour. The deal is set to last through the 2029 season.
An interesting new piece of news is that all MLB teams will get access to Connected Fitness, the company’s health and fitness data tracking product suite unveiled earlier this year. The product line currently includes a Bluetooth-enabled scale, a heart rate-monitoring wristband, wireless headphones, a chip-enabled pair of running shoes and the UA Record data-tracking app, though those offerings could expand in the next four years before the licensing deal kicks in.
According to the company’s release, Under Armour has been supplying baselayers for the MLB since 2000 and currently has over 400 partnerships with players in the major and minor leagues. Under the new contact, Under Armour will supplant Majestic as the MLB’s official jersey provider. Majestic has had exclusive licensing rights for game-worn MLB threads since 2005.
Plank called the announcement of the partnership a “watershed moment” and said it “furthers our collective dedication to bringing passion, energy and innovation to the game of baseball.” MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred thanked Majestic for its contributions to the league and highlighted Under Armour’s branding and marketing appeal, saying they “are a perfect fit to showcase our players and provide an even stronger connection between our game and its young fans and players.”
The deal is something of a coup for Under Armour, which is becoming an increasingly global player in the athletic wear market, thanks to strong growth and a focus on innovative products. This deal marks the first league-wide licensing deal for the company, though UA has snuck up on global giants like Nike and Adidas before by beating them out to sign athletes like Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors and the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton to long-term endorsement deals.
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