Licensed sports merchandise business Fanatics has entered into a wide-ranging partnership with the University of Alabama, with the deal to include the opening of a first-ever retail team store inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The store, which will be called The Authentic, will launch during the upcoming college football season and will be powered by Fanatics. The store will feature a range of officially licensed team apparel and student-athlete NIL merchandise, game-used memorabilia and digital trading cards from Topps.
The Authentic will also create engagement opportunities for student-athletes to provide autographed memorabilia, conduct fan meet-and-greets, and conduct social media marketing to support sales of their NIL merchandise. With a capacity of around 100,000, Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of the largest facilities in the US and The Authentic will become the first dedicated retail team store to open at the venue.
Fanatics’ deal with the University of Alabama also grants the company primary licensee rights for fan apparel and headwear, ecommerce, physical and digital trading cards, and collectibles. Fanatics is a long-standing partner of the university, operating the official ecommerce destination for its athletics department.
Fanatics’ in-house apparel division, Fanatics Brands, will design, manufacture, and distribute an expanded selection of apparel and headwear for Crimson Tide fans. The university will also retain the right to manage all licensing rights via its licensing agency CLC.
Greg Byrne, Alabama’s director of athletics, said: “Fanatics has been one of Alabama Athletics’ top partners for more than a decade and this new deal elevates our relationship to new heights.
“By taking advantage of the expanded breadth of Fanatics’ services, we have put our university and student-athletes in a position to maximise sales and brand exposure with Fanatics’ blue-chip family of brands, including Fanatics Commerce, Topps, and Candy Digital. I think our fans will be fired up when they see everything come together inside The Authentic shop at Bryant-Denny, which we plan to open this season.”
Derek Eiler, executive vice-president of Fanatics College, added: “Fanatics’ comprehensive service offering across multiple product categories was key to delivering on the university’s expectations for an elevated fan and commercial experience.
“The University of Alabama has high expectations for fan experience and engagement, so by creating a one-stop-shop to address all the university’s needs, we were able to align on a transformative partnership to make a profound impact on Alabama Athletics.”
Image: University of Alabama