LOOK: Alabama Partners with Fanatics to Open NIL-Based Team Store Inside Bryant-Denny Stadium

by Chris Haney

Earlier today, the University of Alabama and Fanatics announced a new, long-term partnership deal. The deal gives the online sports retailer a wide range of exclusive rights and licensing. That includes a new NIL-based team store that will open at Bryant-Denny Stadium for the upcoming 2022 college football season.

In what will be the first of its kind, Fanatics is taking advantage of new NIL rules. As of July 2021, college athletes now have the ability to make money off their “name, image, and likeness.” Alabama’s team shop is the first to feature NIL activation while unlocking the full potential of the new NCAA rules.

According to Alabama’s press release, the university’s partnership with Fanatics will span several categories. The deal will include primary licensee rights for fan apparel and headwear. Additionally, the shop will have exclusive rights to e-commerce, stadium retail, trading cards, and collectibles. The online sports retailer is working on co-branded NIL merchandise alongside Nike, Topps, and Fanatics brands.

The concept will allow student-athletes to profit off merchandise, trading cards, and signed memorabilia. Plus, the items will be sold exclusively by the team store at Bryant-Denny Stadium, called The Authentic shop, and their online store.

The deal will see Nike create on-field performance products for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nike will also provide specific fan merchandise, including replica and authentic jerseys, apparel, headwear, and other accessories.

Further, Fanatics Collectibles and Topps secured rights to work together as well. Their deal gives the companies the right to design, manufacture, and distribute official physical and digital collegiate trading cards.

All of the products sold in the team store will utilize official University of Alabama trademarks and NIL rights. That allows the university and Fanatics to feature current and former Crimson Tide student-athletes on their products.

Alabama Director of Athletics Says Fanatics Deal Will ‘Maximize Sales and Brand Exposure’

Past the exclusive products sold in-house, The Authentic retail space will also offer innovative engagement opportunities. The group will work with Crimson Tide student-athletes on various opportunities to maximize their financial potential. Players will provide autographed memorabilia, take part in fan meet and greets, and create social media marketing to help boost sales of their NIL merchandise. 

For years now, Alabama has been Fanatics’ top-selling collegiate partner. Under the online sports retailer’s new deal with the university, the company is obtaining new, exclusive rights. Fanatics will become the school’s primary apparel and headwear licensee across multiple retail distribution channels. In the university’s press release announcing the new deal, Alabama director of athletics Greg Byrne commented on their longstanding relationship with Fanatics.

“Fanatics has been one of Alabama Athletics’ top partners for more than a decade and this new deal elevates our relationship to new heights,” Byrne said in the release. “By taking advantage of the expanded breadth of Fanatics’ services, we have put our University and student-athletes in a position to maximize 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.”