Goodbye Reebok, Hello Nike: The New Merchandise Era

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Published: March 2, 2012

Nike NFLThe NFL is getting a massive makeover in the merchandising department with the introduction of sportswear behemoth Nike taking the reins from the current sponsor Reebok. Jerseys, pants, hats and sideline apparel will now feature the likes of the classic Nike swoosh as anticipation and dread grows amongst the fans as to how this enterprising move may affect the NFL.

Back in 2000, Reebok signed a 250 million dollar deal to be the official distributor of the National Football League. Now starting in April, Nike takes over one of the biggest markets in all of sports, a wealthy venture that will likely boast them to the top of all sporting goods suppliers. It’s been proven that half of the NFL’s earnings come from apparel and headwear sales, which gives Nike a good opportunity to be more profitable and on another note stamp its popular slogan over both the NCAA and NFL football.

Whether people’s perceptions of Nike taking over are positive or negative, this move is primarily driven by the company’s infamous college football uniform designs. One thing is for sure though; the NFL is undoubtedly different from the NCAA.

Nike’s innovative uniform designs are used as a tool to recruit high school players to play at a specific college. It’s through these designs that they are able to attract young, hip recruits to a particular school just because the uniform design is sleek. The Oregon Ducks jerseys and helmets worn during the 2012 Rose Bowl game represent a good example of Nike’s trendy design. The NFL on the other hand doesn’t recruit, so they don’t need to rely on such tactics to get players because of a system known as the NFL Draft. There is a lot more design stability in the pro ranks, so for those of you worrying that your team’s logo or uniform design may change drastically, rest easy because Nike can’t just walk in and change everything on a whim. Or can they?
NFL Nike Jersey's
It’s easy to forget, but this isn’t the first time Nike has represented the NFL. They outfitted many teams in the 1990′s, along with now not as prominent brand Starter. It was however in 1997, that Nike designed the Denver Broncos current look and now more than a decade later the logo still stands strong amongst the Mile High faithful. This example points to the fact that when Nike takes over, teams could be strongly considering changing their logos. But, for the most part, NFL teams will likely stick with what they have. Must we not forget that even though Nike is taking over, they can only do what their clients agree to.

So, what does that entail? Many believe that the switch from Reebok to Nike won’t lead to any dramatic jersey design changes because the teams and the NFL control the team logos, while teams would have to apply to the league to make changes to their colors and logo. If anything, what we can expect from the sporting goods giant is new lightweight uniform technology.

While we can only anticipate and guess what the new jerseys will look like, many fans have taken to Photoshop to create their own unique designs, specifically catering to the likes of each team, a new unique uniform and logo design. While these designs are edgy, fun and out of this world, Nike has debunked any rumors of these Photoshop designs bare any likeness to what they plan to unveil come April.
Nike NFL Jerseys
All in all, we won’t know what the new uniform designs will look like until they’re revealed near draft day. It’s certainly exciting to think about an abundant and much needed change in the NFL. It’s something that will end up benefiting the players, coaches and fans alike in the long run. Not to mention, with the switch occurring, players who are desperate to change their numbers won’t have the buy out their jerseys sporting the Reebok logo sitting on store selves. If you remember it was Adrian Peterson who recently tweeted that he was upset about the fact that he would have to buy out all his jerseys if he wanted to change his number. Well, good news for Adrian, if he so desperately desires to change his Viking uniform number, he’s got a prime opportunity to do so.

It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, a tabula rasa with Nike taking over in the NFL. Is there a brighter future on the horizon? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. At least, and I say this delicately, we can hope that Nike won’t take the outrageous route and unleash a horde of alternative looks and designs for better or for worse.

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