Late yesterday, Nike Inc. filed suit against Reebok and parent company Adidas over what it claims is the unlicensed selling of Jets uniforms bearing Tim Tebow’s name and number. The full lawsuit is below, but the Cliffs Notes version is this: the league’s most popular player (and jersey seller) changed teams during a one-month period when the NFL’s apparel licensing deals are in limbo.
Tebow Jets jerseys began hitting stores and online retailers the day after the trade was announced. Inventory was scarce, but Reebok was sending them out as quickly as they could make them. It’s a race against the clock for Reebok, because the NFL recently signed a five-year licensing deal naming Nike as the official supplier of NFL merchandise. The question at hand: when does that deal go into effect?
Nike’s deal with NFL Licensing begins April 1, and that’s the date all their promotions have been centered around. Two days later Nike will hold an event unveiling the league’s new jerseys, and online pre-orders will begin April 15. The new Nike uniforms won’t physically be available until April 26, the day of the draft.