Fanatics in a partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) has halted jersey production efforts and is repurposing its 360,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Easton, PA, to immediately begin making masks and gowns.
Fanatics manufactures the official MLB player jerseys.
The masks and gowns will be made with the exact same jersey fabric that the players wear on the field, with the first items made from available Yankees and Phillies jersey fabrics. Products will expand to include fabrics from other teams.
These items will be distributed immediately to hospitals and emergency personnel in Pennsylvania and then will extend across New York and New Jersey, as this is the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.
Fanatics plans to initially produce up to 1 million masks and hospital gowns with MLB and Fanatics absorbing all of the costs necessary to manufacture the items.
The idea came from Fanatics Executive Chairman Michael Rubin who saw the shortage of masks for health care professionals fighting on the frontline and began exploring the feasibility of having Fanatics use its massive manufacturing facility in Easton, PA to potentially help. At the same time, Fanatics received calls from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro exploring any way for the company to assist in the needed production of masks and gowns.
Once it was determined that Fanatics had the capacity to transform its plant into a safe, secure facility capable of making these items out of the fabric used for MLB jerseys, Rubin called MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to see if the league was ok halting production of its baseball jerseys. Quick approvals were soon received from the league.
Rubin said, “The COVID-19 crisis has compelled our country to be more collaborative, innovative and strategic than ever before. As the demand for masks and gowns have surged, we’re fortunate to have teamed up with Major League Baseball to find a unique way to support our frontline workers in this fight to stem the virus, who are in dire need of essential resources. We have already begun production of up to one million masks and gowns from the fabric used to make the official MLB jerseys and then donating to hospitals and emergency management personnel throughout Pennsylvania with the goal of expanding to New York and New Jersey.”
“I’m proud that Major League Baseball can partner with Fanatics to help support the brave healthcare workers and emergency personnel who are on the front lines of helping patients with COVID-19. They are truly heroes,” said Manfred Jr. “Fanatics continues to show the creativity and flexibility that has defined them as a company. Those qualities are what drew us to partner with them in the first place. We hope this effort can play a part in coming together as a community to help us through this challenging situation.”
Photo courtesy Fanatics