The Texas Longhorns are the latest top-tier college sports brand to sign a 10-year fan apparel deal with Fanatics.
The two sides announced Thursday an extension of their current partnership that will make Fanatics a primary fan apparel partner of the Longhorns, giving the world’s largest seller of licensed sports goods the exclusive rights to make select gear for Texas faithful. The school’s Nike deal will remain in place, and Fanatics will continue to operate online and in-venue Longhorns shops through 2030.
Deals like this have been a relatively new priority for Fanatics, which is gradually signing similar partnerships with some of the NCAA’s most popular programs. The group has eight other similar deals, with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas A&M, Oregon, Miami, Tennessee and Minnesota.
Though financial terms of the Texas pact weren’t released, these partnerships typically contain a signing bonus plus a guaranteed share of royalties over the course of the contract. (Fanatics’ 10-year pact with Oregon, its first of these deals back in 2018, was $1.5 million upfront and another $21.5 million in guarantees.)
Texas has one of the most popular, most successful and wealthiest athletic departments in the country. The Longhorns have 20 teams and claim 58 team national titles since 1949, including women’s tennis, rowing, and men’s swimming and diving in the 2020-21 season.
No matter how strong the fan base, however, merchandise sales tend to ebb and flow depending on the success of the football and basketball teams. The guarantee in these deals provides a stable revenue stream, which could be extra valuable coming out of the pandemic, as athletic departments across the country reassess even the smallest facets of their finances. The Longhorns reported $200 million in revenue in 2019-20, their lowest total in four years.
This deal is also an extension of ecommerce and in-venue rights Fanatics has held dating back more than a decade. Fanatics says it will build a flagship Longhorns shop in the school’s future $338 million basketball arena, scheduled to open in 2022.
The partnership was brokered by CLC, the Longhorns’ trademark licensing agency.