SBJ/August 22-28, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

A New Era for NFL caps

Company's licensed hat collection to debut

While its NFL licensing rights don’t take effect until next year, New Era will take the lid off its new NFL cap collection at this week’s MAGIC apparel trade show in Las Vegas.

The longtime MLB on-field rights holder signed a five-year NFL deal last Octoberk. It will start selling caps at retail next April.

Among the caps being shown are various teams and styles of New Era’s 59Fifty, 39Thirty and 9Fifty snapback caps, segmented for sale at different times on the NFL calendar: the 2012 NFL draft, training camp, the regular season and the playoffs. New Era also is promising improved performance attributes for the forthcoming NFL line, including moisture-wicking and water-resistant fabrics.

New Era will begin selling NFL caps at retail in April, replacing Reebok.
The company will be showing more than 150 caps between its authentic, team and lifestyle collections.

New Era President Pete Augustine said the company is developing an NFL marketing plan, with the help of agency Brooklyn Brothers, that will include NFL players and ads within NFL games. Augustine said that by the time 2011 is over, New Era will have added 180 employees to handle its NFL relationship.

“The NFL is a huge opportunity for us and we are ramping up accordingly,” he said.

Next month, before its U.S. rights kick in, New Era will begin selling NFL caps in Europe, in an eight-country retail program tied to the Oct. 23 Chicago-Tampa Bay game at London’s Wembley Stadium.

A line of accessory products is also in development, but products like backpacks, bags, watches, sunglasses and belts won’t be available until spring 2013, at the earliest.

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