Fanatics is diving into college athlete NIL through an alliance with OneTeam Partners that could lead to jerseys bearing the name and number of college stars becoming available for sale in school shops across the country.
The world’s largest seller of licensed sports goods will bring its manufacturing capabilities and E-commerce relationships to the program. Paired with group licensing rights organized by OneTeam, the partnership should allow fans to wear jerseys featuring the names of their favorite college athletes—so long as the quarterback or point guard opts in. Right now, fans can pick a number on some college jerseys at Fanatics, but cannot pair the name and number of current athletes.
The partnership will start with customizable Nike, Adidas and Under Armour football jerseys, starting with the 2022 season. Other sports will follow, according to Malaika Underwood, SVP of Licensing at OneTeam Partners.
“As the commercial landscape continues to develop for college athletes, their collective value is only beginning to be realized,” Underwood said. “What we bring on the athlete side layers onto Fanatics’ strong existing partnerships with most major colleges and universities.”
Fanatics will pay player royalties to OneTeam, which takes a commission on the total amount generated by the jersey program. Players are paid based on a percentage of sales for uniforms bearing their specific name and number.
Fanatics works with more than 150 universities to run their online stores and/or retail locations inside stadiums and arenas. These athlete jerseys will likely be available in many of those online and in-person shops, in addition to the Fanatics central site.
Owned by billionaire Michael Rubin, Fanatics is quickly expanding its business inside apparel and beyond. That includes college sports, where the company has begun signing top-tier athletic departments like Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Florida to comprehensive 10-year licensing agreements.
OneTeam launched in 2019 as a joint venture between the NFLPA, MLBPA and RedBird Capital, aimed at helping athletes capitalize on the growing value of their brands, particularly in areas of marketing and group licensing. OneTeam represents a number of other athlete organizations, including the MLSPA, the U.S. women’s national soccer team and the WNBPA.