SBD/October 18, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Face Off: Bauer Plans To Battle Reebok For NHL Jersey Rights In '16

With Reebok's NHL jersey licensing contract set to expire in '16, Bauer Performance Sports said that it “plans to be a contender," which could create “a David and Goliath contest” between the two companies, according to Dana Flavelle of the TORONTO STAR. adidas subsidiary Reebok is “roughly six times Bauer’s size in terms of annual revenues.” The NHL jersey business is "worth an estimated" C$200M a year, "including fitting the players themselves and their fans with replicas.” Bauer President & CEO Kevin Davis on Tuesday said, “We have every intention of bidding.” Davis said that the company’s ability to “bid for the NHL jersey business came with its purchase last week of Inaria International, a small Toronto-based team jersey and sock maker.” Flavelle notes the C$7M purchase of Inaria was a “relatively small deal for the leading ice-hockey and lacrosse equipment maker.” But Bauer said that it has “big plans for the unit, which adds team outfits to its stable of skates, helmets and sticks making it a ‘one-stop’ shop for retailers.” SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that “typically, the successful licensee would pay an upfront fee of [C$50M] to the league and then another 10 per cent a year in royalties.” Meanwhile, Davis said that the four-week-old NHL lockout “has had little impact on the company’s business.” Bauer said that the company currently sponsors “about a dozen NHL players and roughly 85 per cent of league members play with at least one piece of Bauer equipment” (TORONTO STAR, 10/18).
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