Who will supply the NHL’s New Jerseys?
It’s time for Adidas and the NHL to update their relationship statuses as the German sportswear brand will not extend its contract as the league’s uniform and apparel supplier beyond the 2023 season- 24, paving the way for a new manufacturer to enter Bavaria. company shoes.
“The NHL and Adidas look forward to continuing to work closely together over the next two years and ensuring a smooth transition to the new authentic NHL uniform supplier, to be announced by the NHL at the appropriate time.” , he added. the NHL said in a statement.
Adidas replaced Rebook as NHL supplier after 2016-17, signing a seven-year deal worth $70 million per season. They then struck a deal with the NHLPA to produce jerseys for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Several NHL stars, including Connor McDavid and Nikita Kucherov, subsequently signed promotional agreements with Adidas. However, the company has signaled that it will withdraw from individual agreements after 2023-24, leaving the hockey space entirely.
The story, first discovered by ESPN Greg Wyshynski, left several question marks over the NHL. What was behind Adidas’ decision to exit? Where will the league turn next? Could the separation be for the best? Let’s break it down.
Shifting Sands: Why Adidas is abandoning the NHL?
There has been a lot of speculation about Adidas’ decision to retire from the NHL, some of them reasonable, some not. First, the 98-year-old company has been accused of never really committing to the sport, as it never dove into making hockey equipment with both feet, sticking only to to shirts. So the NHL’s marriage to Adidas seemed a bit awkward.
Related: Capitals Jersey Sponsorship Deal Poses Serious Questions for NHL
Second, the market has changed and is changing rapidly. Adidas is huge across the world of soccer, including in North America where it supplies kits to all 28 Major League Soccer clubs and is focused on expanding its reach in the sport. Nike, meanwhile, has scaled back its investment in football, opening the door for the Oregon company to expand its reach elsewhere.
In other words, cash is king. Adidas thinks it will find better value for money elsewhere; not expanding his relationship with the NHL says more about the sports industry than the league itself.
Nike, Fanatics, Rebook: what next for the NHL?
At this stage, no one knows which company will replace Adidas. Prior to 2000, each franchise was free to negotiate sponsorship deals with individual manufacturers, with CCM, Koho, and Nike often leading the charge.
However, there is no indication that the NHL is abandoning its league-wide strategy. There will be a single replacement for Adidas, with the league’s trade office making it clear to potential suppliers that they are looking for a new partner.
Since the story broke, the Twittersphere has been flooded with speculation about possible Adidas replacements. “Nike” is a name that keeps coming up, having recently replaced Majestic as Major League Baseball’s jersey designer two years ago with a 10-year contract valued at over $1 billion. Nike and the National Basketball Association struck a similar deal before 2017-18, signing an eight-year contract worth around $1 billion (from ‘Nike Wins $1 Billion Contract With NBA as Adidas Walks Away’, Bloomberg6/10/15).
Nike also renewed its contract with the National Football League; another eight-year deal worth $1 billion. It stands to reason the brand could make a move for NHL jersey rights, given its growing influence on the North American sports commercial landscape.
However, there are other suitors, as Warrior recently agreed a competition-wide contract with the European Hockey Champions League, adding to his club-specific contracts with teams across the continent. CCM also remains one of the mainstays of the sport and is no longer owned by Adidas.
Finally, a word about fanatics. Would the growing company be interested in signing an authentic jersey contract with the NHL? This seems unlikely, especially since it would be innovative for the brand; but neither can they be totally ignored. Just a little food for thought.
Is Adidas’ divorce from the NHL for the best?
Now the painful part for Gary Bettman: the NHL’s commercial rights aren’t worth as much as the other major leagues in North America, or many soccer teams in Europe. The league’s partnership with Adidas has grossed approximately $490 million over eight years. Let’s put the case in context.
|League||Maker||Value per season||The duration of the contract|
|NFL||Nike||$125 million||Eight years|
|NBA||Nike||$125 million||Eight years|
|MLS||Adidas||$117 million||Six years|
|MLB||Nike||$100 million||10 years|
|NHL||Adidas||$70 million||Seven years|
In Europe, football clubs enter into individual partnerships with kit manufacturers. The money at stake is impressive.
|Crew||League / Country||Maker||Value per season||The duration of the contract|
|FCBarcelona||La Liga / Spain||Nike||$170.4 million||5 years, with the possibility of a 5-year extension|
|real Madrid||La Liga / Spain||Adidas||$170 million||8 years|
|Manchester United||Premier League / England||Adidas||$91.4 million||10 years|
|Paris Saint Germain||Ligue 1 / France||Nike||$81.8 million||14 years old|
|Bayern Munich||Bundesliga / Germany||Adidas||$78.5 million||10 years|
|Juventus||Serie A / Italy||Adidas||$58 million||8 years|
In other words, the NHL’s next jersey sponsorship deal should be an improvement over his previous deal with Adidas. Signing with ESPN and TNT brought new attention to the league; it must carry this dynamic until 2023-2024 and beyond.
With that in mind, parting ways with the German automaker might be best. As the NHL navigates choppy, post-pandemic waters, it’s under pressure to innovate on a business front – finding the right uniform partner will be crucial to doing just that.
Luke is an award-winning sports journalist from London, England. In addition to his work on the pace of the Washington Capitals during THWit covers the Elite Ice Hockey League for British ice hockey and world football for numerous publications, notably on Sub-stack. To stay up to date with its content, follow @LukeJames_32 on Twitter.