MLB teams will be sporting a prominent Nike swoosh on their jerseys beginning in 2020, with the new deal with Nike and Fanatics expected to bring more than a billion dollars to league coffers over 10 years.
There were plenty of negative reactions on Twitter when samples of a swoosh-laden Yankees jersey was released a few weeks ago, and more when new signee Gerrit Cole was introduced wearing a swoosh-laden Yankees jersey. Then again, when the Minnesota Twins unveiled a retro baby-blue jersey sporting a Nike swoosh joining the uniform rotation in 2020, there was minimal reaction to the swoosh on Twitter:
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) November 25, 2019
The notion of an apparel partner receiving some prime real estate isn’t new–New Era and Majestic manufacturer’s logo have appeared on caps and jersey sleeves, respectively–but the new deal with Nike puts the swoosh in a pretty prominent position. It also previews what could be another change in the future: sponsor patches a la the NBA and WNBA. MLB teams already wear sponsor logos in foreign series, and many assume they are in the sport’s future. From the New York Post:
[T]he reason the swoosh is now located on the front of the Yankees’ uniform is because of MLB wanting to appeal to younger consumers and, not for nothing, a 10-year deal that was valued at, according to sources, more than $1 billion among MLB, Nike and Fanatics.
“Demand is up significantly based on adding the swoosh to the uniform and is bringing in younger consumers to the sport and a marketing halo from Nike,” Michael Rubin, the founder and executive chairman of Fanatics, told The Post.
Rubin had access to the year-over-year sales trends as Fanatics owns Majestic, which had the uniform deal before Nike. He didn’t have the exact figures on hand, but said they were in double digits in terms of percentage.
Photo of Gerrit Cole courtesy New York Yankees via Twitter. Photo of new baby-blue jersey courtesy Minnesota Twins.