Sports | March 25, 2021 6:00 am

NFL’s Massive Amazon Gear Launch Appears to Be Huge Win for Fanatics, Big Loss for Nike

Thousands of officially licensed NFL products are now for sale via the internet's largest retail store

Amazon's NFL Fan Central shop
The NFL Fan Central shop on Amazon.
Screenshot/InsideHook

Less than a week after Amazon forked over $1.32 billion to become the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football starting with the 2023 season, the Seattle-based giant and the National Football League are partnering to bring thousands of officially licensed NFL products to the largest retail store on the internet, according to Sportico.

With the NFL and Amazon both staying mum on the financial arrangement between the two parties, it’s unclear if this is a pilot program or a long-term partnership. “Amazon continues to collaborate with the NFL to enhance our customer experience and we look forward to expanding our assortment of NFL products,” an Amazon rep told Sportico in a statement.

From jerseys to headwear and tailgating gear, the expanded NFL offerings on Amazon’s marketplace as of Wednesday evening now include products from brands like NFL Pro Line, New Era and Outerstuff.

Absent are offerings from Nike, the NFL’s official on-field partner for authentic jerseys and sideline apparel. As part of a larger pivot of focus on e-commerce, Nike pulled its products from Amazon in 2019 and the relationship with the NFL was apparently not enough to get the sportswear giant to return to the online retailer (if that was even an option) as part of the new partnership.

A potential loss for Nike, the new partnership appears to be a win for Fanatics, which operates the NFL Shop and will now handle a good deal of the new business generated via Amazon. Fanatics, which doesn’t currently sell on Amazon and will be on the platform for the first time, was valued at $12.8 billion in a funding round earlier this week and that valuation may actually have been a little bit low based on the partnership news.

Thursday Night Football will be our first-ever digital package and we are thrilled to exclusively partner with Amazon to bring our games to more fans on more platforms,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said after the TNF deal was announced last week. “NFL football drives passionate viewers and Amazon will enable us to continue to grow our fanbase in innovative and compelling ways.”

Apparently one of those ways is opening the floodgates to officially licensed NFL products on Amazon. Based on the way that move could transform the market for fan gear, it’ll be interesting to see what the world’s richest sports league and the world’s largest retailer do next — and who it will benefit.