Fanatics, No. 38 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, signed a 16-year deal that makes it the official manufacturer of replica jerseys for the National Hockey League as well as other official NHL apparel starting with the 2017-18 season. Financial terms were not disclosed. As part of the deal, Fanatics will also operate physical retail stores at NHL events and arenas throughout the year.
The NHL cited Fanatics’ e-commerce prowess as being a key driver behind this deal. Fanatics generated an Internet Retailer-estimated $1.27 billion in 2015 web sales and has a five-year compounded annual growth rate of 24.59%, according to Top500Guide.com data.
“After a rigorous process, Fanatics emerged as an optimal choice given their commitments to expanding their already best-in-class capabilities in the e-commerce space, including building a sales and distribution infrastructure in Canada, and to produce lines of replica jerseys and apparel products that will excite NHL fans and drive sales for NHL retail partners,” NHL chief branding officer Brian Jennings said.
A Fanatics spokesman says plans are being finalized for the number and location of fulfillment centers and manufacturing facilities that it will open in Canada. Fanatics began operating the NHL’s online store in 2005, so this deal marks an expansion of the company’s relationship with the league.
Reebok, which is owned by adidas America Inc. (No. 66 in the Top 500), had previously produced official replica jerseys for the NHL. Last year, adidas signed a seven-year deal with the NHL, effective with the 2017-28 season, to become the official manufacturer of the jerseys NHL players wear on the ice during games. Adidas also is a supplier of licensed apparel for the NHL. An NHL representative could not be reached for comment on how many “official suppliers” of apparel the league has.