University of Alabama, Fanatics Enter Merchandise Partnership
The University of Alabama has announced a long-term, multi-faceted partnership with Fanatics, a provider of licensed sportswear, collectibles and merchandise, among other goods. The agreement includes a wide range of exclusive rights from the university that Fanatics capitalize on across its digital sports platform.
Fanatics is already a longstanding partner of the university. It is currently operating the official e-commerce destination for the Alabama Athletics Department at Shop.RollTide.com as well as regularly ranking as a top selling licensee for Crimson Tide merchandise.
The agreement between the University of Alabama and Fanatics spans multiple categories, including primary licensee rights for fan apparel and headwear, e-commerce, stadium retail, physical and digital trading cards and collectible rights.
- Fanatics merchandising platforms will allow the university to create, promote and distribute Alabama merchandise featuring the name, image and likeness (NIL) rights of current Crimson Tide student-athletes.
- The university will retain the right to manage all licensing rights via CLC, its licensing agency, for the campus and local market in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is currently serviced by several in-state licensees and retailers.
- Under the new arrangement, Fanatics will obtain new, exclusive rights to become Alabama's primary apparel and headwear licensee across several retail distribution channels.
- Multiple businesses across Fanatics' digital sports platform will participate in the partnership, including Fanatics Commerce and Fanatics Collectibles; Topps, the trading cards brand; and Candy Digital, a digital collectibles company.
The next evolution in NIL? Alabama, partnering with Fanatics, is opening this season a “team” store within Bryant-Denny called The Authentic.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 25, 2022
It will feature co-branded player merchandise such as customized Nike jerseys, game-used/autographed memorabilia & trading cards. pic.twitter.com/NnMOQU0nfq
A cornerstone of the new agreement is Fanatics’ launch of The Authentic, the first-ever retail team store to be opened inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
- Expected to launch during the upcoming 2022 college football season, the store will feature a significant assortment of officially licensed team apparel and student-athlete NIL merchandise, including customized Nike player jerseys, customized name and number t-shirts, headwear, official game-used memorabilia, on-demand digital trading cards from Topps, and more.
- The Authentic retail space will also be used for autograph signings by Crimson Tide student-athletes, to conduct fan meet-and-greets and to host social media marketing to support sales of NIL merchandise.
Fanatics Brands, Fanatics' in-house apparel division, will design, manufacture and distribute a selection of Crimson Tide-licensed apparel and headwear.
- Together with The University of Alabama and CLC, Fanatics will support an assortment of additional authorized direct licensees across multiple product categories.
- Fanatics Collectibles and Topps have secured rights to design, manufacture and distribute official physical and digital collegiate trading cards. Beginning in 2025, Fanatics Collectibles will be the University's exclusive trading cards partner.
- Candy Digital will also create new levels of fan engagement through the creation of digital collectibles and NFTs of select past Alabama greats and current Crimson Tide student-athletes.
In Their Words:
"Fanatics' comprehensive service offering across multiple product categories was key to delivering on the university's expectations for an elevated fan and commercial experience," says Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College. "The University of Alabama has high expectations for fan experience and engagement, so by creating a one-stop-shop to address all the university's needs, we were able to align on a transformative partnership to make a profound impact on Alabama Athletics."
Greg Byrne, Alabama's director of athletics, says, “Fanatics has been one of Alabama athletics' top partners for more than a decade and this new deal elevates our relationship to new heights. By taking advantage of the expanded breadth of Fanatics' services, we have put our university and student-athletes in a position to maximize sales and brand exposure with Fanatics' blue-chip family of brands, including Fanatics Commerce, Topps and Candy Digital. I think our fans will be fired up when they see everything come together inside The Authentic shop at Bryant-Denny, which we plan to open this season."