North American ice hockey’s NHL has confirmed that Adidas, the German sportswear giant, will not renew its official jersey supplier contract with the league after the 2023-24 season.
ESPN yesterday (July 28) cited sources indicating that the league is seeking a new partner to replace Adidas in two years' time after the brand said it would not renew its official supplier of uniforms and apparel contract once it ends.
In a statement, the NHL said: “The NHL and Adidas look forward to continuing to work closely together over the next two years and to a smooth transition to the new authentic NHL uniform supplier, which will be announced by the NHL at the appropriate time.”
The NHL’s seven-year deal with Adidas started with the 2017-18 season when it replaced Reebok, which had been the NHL’s uniform supplier since the 2005-06 season. That deal was reportedly worth at least double the $35 million per year that Reebok had been paying for the rights.
Adidas then went on to strike a deal with the NHL and NHLPA to make jerseys for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
During the deal, league stars including Connor McDavid signed promotional deals with Adidas. However, sources told ESPN players with expiring Adidas endorsement deals will also not be renewed.
Conrad Wiacek, head of analysis at GlobalData Sport, commented: “Adidas walking away from its centralized NHL deal suggests a change in strategy for the iconic sports brand. With the deal worth over $70 million per season, Adidas has committed over $700 million to the partnership over the past decade since replacing Reebok.
“However, with budgets tightening in a post-pandemic world, Adidas will likely be focusing on its core business in soccer – especially its deal with MLS. There, rival Nike has scaled back investment to focus on core tentpole properties, giving Adidas an opportunity to drive more partnerships in the sport and collect greater market share.”
Last month, the NHL announced a new partnership with US-based sportswear brand Michell & Ness. Under that deal, the brand design and manufacture official-licensed lifestyle apparel, headwear, and accessories for the NHL and all 32 of its teams.
That deal aligns with the NHL’s existing e-commerce and licensing partnership with sportswear and equipment retailer Fanatics, which acquired Mitchell & Ness in February.
Fanatics is a long-term partner of the NHL since 2005 and has been the official manufacturer of a broad range of NHL apparel and headwear, including replica jerseys since the 2017-18 season.
The retailer also runs the NHL’s e-commerce retail site and operates on-site retail at numerous NHL events.