NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- A partnership between Major League Baseball and Under Armour that has spanned more than a decade and a half took another step forward on Monday, with the announcement of a long-term uniform pact beginning in 2020.
From baseball's annual Winter Meetings outside of Washington, D.C., Under Armour, Fanatics and MLB announced a 10-year partnership that named the global performance brand as the official uniform provider to MLB, marking Under Armour's first professional league uniform deal.
The three organizations joining together introduces a new revolutionary model defined by its vision for -- and investment in -- serving millions of fans and players at all stages of the game. The collaborative partnership will provide cutting-edge on-field apparel for players, as well as the most responsive and significant merchandise assortment ever available for fans.
"We are excited to build on our partnership with Under Armour, a powerful global brand that continues to grow exponentially, and Fanatics, an industry leader in sports licensing," said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. "Under Armour's marketing ability and brand status are a perfect fit to showcase our players and provide an even stronger connection between our game and its young fans and players."
Beginning in the 2020 season, Under Armour will be the exclusive MLB provider of all on-field uniform components, including jerseys featuring prominent Under Armour branding, base layers, game-day outerwear and year-round training apparel for all 30 clubs.
Fanatics, a global leader of licensed sports merchandise, will be granted broad consumer product licensing rights to manage the manufacturing and distribution of Under Armour and Fanatics fan gear, which includes jerseys at retail, name and number products and postseason apparel. Under Armour and Fanatics expect to offer an assortment of new fan apparel and accessories at retail, prior to the 2020 season.
"This partnership epitomizes our next-generation model, which brings much-needed agility to the industry, enhancing both assortment and speed to market of MLB merchandise for teams, fans and retailers." said Michael Rubin, executive chairman of Fanatics. "Both Fanatics and Under Armour get to do what each does best, while joining forces with an innovative and tech-savvy league to help grow the game of baseball through a pioneering new business model better suited to today's digital economy."
The intensity, excitement and unscripted dramatic appeal of the game -- demonstrated by another thrilling MLB postseason and the historic 2016 World Series -- has driven global growth and popularity for MLB.
Positioning a historic sport institution and its constant drive to expand fans' access points to the game through technology innovation, alongside a young, fearless and driven sports brand and best-in-class licensing experts, provides enormous opportunity to grow every level of the game through this strategic partnership.
Under Armour is a well-established partner of MLB, dating back to 2000 as an official base-layer supplier. The brand took the field with its first baseball cleat collection in 2006 and became the official performance footwear partner of MLB in 2011.
Under Armour currently has more than 400 individual athlete partnerships across the Major and Minor Leagues, including 2012 National League MVP Buster Posey, 2014 NL MVP and three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper, 2016 All-Star Game MVP Eric Hosmer and 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello.