Fanatics is ready to help college athletes capitalize on their images and likenesses.
Fanatics, the country’s largest licensed sports retailer, is teaming with OneTeam Partners to launch a co-branded jersey program featuring the name and number of current student-athletes, beginning with the fall college football season.
OneTeam, which specializes in commercializing the group rights of athletes, will work with Fanatics to provide current college football players with the opportunity to be compensated for inclusion in the customization programs of officially licensed jerseys.
Last year, student-athletes across the country were granted the right to make money from their names, images and likenesses, or NIL, as a result of an NCAA policy change.
Although the Fanatics and OneTeam initiative will start with football, it is expected to be expanded to other sports in the future.
“As the commercial landscape continues to develop for college athletes, their collective value is only beginning to be realized,” said Malaika Underwood, senior vice president of licensing at OneTeam. “Our focus has been on creating broad-scale licensed product programs that wouldn’t otherwise be possible without group rights. The Fanatics jersey program, which will cut across schools and eventually men’s and women’s sports, will give fans the ability to buy the jersey of their favorite college athlete and is exactly the type of thing we can help bring to market. What we bring on the athlete side layers onto Fanatics’ strong existing partnerships with most major colleges and universities.”
Fanatics already partners with more than 150 colleges and universities across the country, selling product online, in physical stores inside stadiums and arenas, as well as through wholesale channels.
“Broad-scale group rights for college athletes is the only pathway to bring this program forward,” said Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College. “OneTeam is the perfect partner because of their group licensing expertise and their thoughtful approach in college. Aligning with OneTeam was a critical step to develop a scalable and efficient college football jersey program. We are excited to create an even deeper connection between schools, college athletes and fans through licensed merchandise.”
Fanatics will offer customizable Nike, Adidas and Under Armour football jerseys and OneTeam will handle the group rights of the athletes, who can opt in to participate through the Compass NIL app.
OneTeam launched as a joint venture between the NFL Players Association, MLB Players Association and RedBird Capital Partners to maximize the collective value of athletes’ rights across group licensing, marketing, media and investing.