SBJ/February 23 - 29, 2004/Marketingsponsorship

Reebok adds rights for MLB to its deals with NFL and NBA

Reebok signed a four-year deal with Major League Baseball last week giving it worldwide rights to market footwear bearing the league's silhouetted batter trademark. The deal means Reebok now has footwear rights with the NBA, NFL and MLB.

Apparel licensing rights were not part of the agreement, but the deal does include an advertising commitment and gives Reebok the rights to use MLB players in uniform to advertise footwear. With Nike, Adidas and Reebok aboard, MLB now has three of the largest athletic brands as licensees.

Sources said Reebok intends to sign more players to its current roster of 110-plus players that includes Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and left fielder Manny Ramirez, Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte and Marlins pitcher Josh Beckett. Some of Reebok's marquee players will be wearing special versions of the MLB-logoed shoes as soon as spring training.

Reebok plans to bring MLB-branded cleated shoes to market this season and follow with cross-training shoes, "lifestyle" sneakers and shoes targeted at kids. As is the case with Reebok's NBA deal, MLB players control their own shoe rights. Players not under contract, along with coaches and managers, could wear Reebok's MLB shoes.

MLB recently renewed its other on-field apparel licenses, signing five-year agreements worth more than $500 million. Key partners and components of the program include:

Majestic Athletic

Exclusive MLB Authentic Collection supplier of on-field game uniforms, batting practice jerseys, outerwear, T-shirts, fleece and turtlenecks to all 30 MLB clubs as well as the domestic and international retail markets.

New Era

Exclusive MLB Authentic Collection supplier of headwear to all 30 clubs as well as the domestic and international retail markets. New Era also maintains its rights as the exclusive supplier of MLB Authentic Collection celebratory headwear for the winners of the League Championship Series and World Series.

Nike

Exclusive MLB Authentic Collection supplier of performance apparel and casual wear to all 30 clubs as well as the domestic and international retail markets.

Twins Enterprises

Exclusive supplier of non-authentic headwear to the domestic mass market. Twins also maintains rights to produce MLB Authentic Collection celebratory headwear for division winners and wild-card teams.

VF Imagewear

Exclusive supplier of non-authentic fleece and T-shirts for the U.S., Canadian and Latin American markets. VF will have global rights to produce the official celebratory T-shirts and fleece worn by teams participating in postseason play.

Dynasty Apparel

Exclusive supplier of non-authentic jerseys for the domestic and Latin American markets.

Drew Pearson

Maintains rights to produce and distribute non-authentic headwear throughout Europe.

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