NHL Receives Negative Reception from Fans on Fanatics Jersey Partnership Announcement
By Woz8 months ago
To say the reception to the NHL’s announcement of Fanatics as its next official on-ice uniform outfitter has been lukewarm is an understatement.
In case you missed it the league announced a 10-year agreement on Tuesday with the manufacturer to produce the league’s jerseys. Later in the evening, it was reported by Ali Murji that NIKE did not put in a bid for the NHL jersey rights and that the brand is distancing itself from hockey.
Now I don’t have a lot of experience with Fanatics myself, but I asked over social media for some thoughts regarding the brand. The responses left a sour taste in my mouth for what could come with future NHL jerseys.
“Junk brand,” says Mike D as his t-shirts from Fanatics have fallen apart. A poor decision by the NHL, or is it possible the league didn’t have any other options? While the league has worked closely with the brand for years, it hasn’t left a good impression among fans.
Will the partnership become problematic? Based on Austin’s response Fanatics has a poor reputation and horrific quality. User BigFish610 on r/hockeyjerseys wrote on a thread “God da**it f**k Fanatics dude. A t-shirt from them doesn’t even make it through 5 washes” and another user named “shorthanded” pointed out “An actual jersey doesn’t make it a year. The company sucks and as a jersey collector I’m pretty disappointed in the NHL, but absolutely not surprised. The league does everything it can to alienate its fanbase”
While Fanatics is known for replica jerseys, it will interesting to see how they develop authentic on-ice uniforms. Is it possible that the quality will improve with how large of a role they will play with the NHL? 10 years is a long time and the manufacturer will need to step up its game if it wants to grab the pockets of hockey consumers.
Some fans are optimistic. Noah mentions how the quality should improve as they will be the official jerseys and the brand will sell two different options. Possibly that’s the only hope, that the product improves.
The NHL has one more year with Adidas until Fanatics takes over in the 2024-2025 season. Personally, I would’ve preferred if the NHL landed a deal with Puma or even went back to Reebok. It feels like — and this is only a guess — the league didn’t put much effort into gauging other brands and just went with the company they had the closest relationship with. Or just like NIKE, it’s possible no one else saw the value in hockey.
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