Major League Soccer (MLS) and Fanatics jointly announced a broad long-term global agreement that expands the scale and scope of Fanatics’ relationship with the League, beginning in 2019. In addition to extending the long-standing e-commerce relationship between the two organizations, the multichannel deal is highlighted by Fanatics gaining worldwide rights to exclusively produce MLS fan gear apparel, headwear and hard goods across all retail and wholesale channels.
Fanatics, which recently acquired leading apparel brand Majestic, will use its supply chain and vertical manufacturing model to activate new MLS licensing rights across a wide array of categories the company specializes in, such as hot market and name and number products. Under the new agreement, Fanatics and MLS will also work collaboratively to identify and secure additional companies to grow the overall assortment of products available to fans worldwide.
This agreement complements MLS’ partnership with Adidas — the official sponsor for the League, its Clubs, MLS youth academies and youth affiliated clubs — for all products worn on the field by MLS athletes and technical staff.
“Fanatics has been a strong digital commerce partner of the League and our Clubs and we are looking forward to expanding our partnership and capitalizing on their expertise in licensed sports merchandising,” said Kathy Carter, president of Soccer United Marketing, MLS’ commercial arm. “We will be working closely with the Fanatics team to substantially expand our fanwear product assortments across all MLS Clubs, starting with the expanded categories that the Fanatics and Majestic brands will be bringing to the market.”
In conjunction with MLS’ growing international appeal, Fanatics will be expanding the availability of MLS products around the globe, both online and through wholesale, beginning with the launch of a new, localized Canadian ecommerce platform in 2018. Fanatics will also take over exclusive on-site retail operations of key league events, including the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, creating a more seamless omni-channel experience for fans.
“MLS fans are some of the most passionate and tech-savvy across the entire sports landscape, and we are excited to expand our partnership with this rapidly growing league to provide a significantly enhanced multichannel assortment of unique and timely products from both our Fanatics and Majestic brands as well as other top companies worldwide,” said Gary Gertzog, Fanatics president of Business Affairs. “Our philosophy of faster speed-to-market of merchandise will ensure fans can celebrate the players and teams they love in real-time, including special items for championship moments, record-breaking feats and breakthrough performances.”
MLS and Fanatics expect to begin offering an assortment of new fan gear apparel and accessories at retail, prior to the 2019 season.
In addition to powering the official MLS online store, MLSstore.com, which encompasses all 23 MLS Clubs, Fanatics is the official in-venue retail provider for Atlanta United FC, Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo, Minnesota United FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.