Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged adidas AG to maintain its NBA jersey production at American Classic Outfitters Inc. in Perry, NY, rather than ship the work overseas. According to reports, Adidas had notified its U.S-based manufacturers – including American Classic Outfitters in Perry, Wyoming County in New York – that next season’s NBA jerseys will be made in Thailand.
Adidas confirmed the change in a statement Tuesday.
“In August, the Adidas Group informed ACO that it had decided to begin to transition the production of NBA uniforms to facilities located closer to the source of uniform materials. This decision is in line with both the company’s product strategy of developing and introducing new, innovative materials and technologies to basketball uniforms, and the company’s sourcing strategy of consolidating our supply chain.”
American Classic Outfitters, which employs 97 people, provides game-day jerseys for 16 NBA teams as well as those for all the WNBA and NBA developmental league teams.
Rob Knoll, the Perry company’s senior vice president, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that loss of the contract would be likely lead to job losses.
“We’re doing all we can to keep from losing these jobs, though some cuts are certainly a possibility,” Knoll said. Adidas was still in the middle of a 7-year contract with Perry company for the jerseys, but Knoll said American Classic Outfitters had few legal options. “Adidas can squeeze out of it in any number of ways.”
Schumer said in a statement that beyond the loss of jobs, apparel for the NBA should be made in America.
“Basketball is an American game,” said Schumer. “It began here. Adidas tried to make this move under the radar. I’ve reached out to them, but I haven’t gotten anywhere.”
He said that if Adidas goes ahead with the overseas move, he will urge the NBA to drop the vendor in favor of one that makes its products at American plants.
“It is flat wrong for adidas to take away the production of game-day NBA jerseys from the company and workers here in New York who have done so well for the NBA for so long,” Schumer. “And to do it in this economic climate adds insult to injury.”
Adidas signed a $400 million, 11-year contract with the league in 2006. Adidas acquired the former holder of the NBA license, Reebok, in 1997, and Reebok transferred the NBA rights to the adidas in 2006.
Last year, ACO secured a long-term contract with adidas to become its exclusive provider of customized sports apparel. As a result of winning the contract with adidas, American Classic Outfitters invested more than $1 million in facility improvements and equipment to produce the game day jerseys.