Score a big one for Under Armour. Starting in 2020, Under Armour will be the official provider for every Major League Baseball team’s official on-field uniform. Sports Business Daily reported the landmark contract news on Monday. The deal also includes Fanatics as the official rights holder for apparel across the league.
The new contract means MLB is moving on from Majestic Athletic, which has been providing on-field apparel throughout baseball since 2005. The contract with Majestic ends at the end of the 2019 season, so MLB is getting a jump on their future uniform plans. That’s a wise strategy, as it gives Under Armour time to develop a template to be used in the big leagues.
Those templates will also have time to be reviewed and approved by the league for use starting in the spring of 2020 and then in the regular season. Any time a single apparel company gains control of an entire league, especially for the first time, a lot of preparation needs to be accounted for.
This is huge news for Under Armour, as it gains complete control of an entire professional sports league to go along with an increasing number of individual college deals, such as Maryland and Notre Dame (Ed note: and Northwestern!!). Nike may still be the leader in the clubhouse overall in this apparel game, but Under Armour is on the rise, passing Adidas along the way (if it hasn’t already).
This is also a significant move for Fanatics, which continues to grow as a company. Sports Business Daily reports industry experts believe Fanatics is moving toward an IPO in 2018, and having a significant deal like this in order with MLB would help that cause, easily. The company already has arrangements with the NFL, NBA, and NHL among others.
New Era will continue to be the provider of caps around the league.