Fanatics and the University of Minnesota announced an exclusive, 10-year partnership that sees Fanatics become Gopher Athletics’ exclusive omnichannel-e-commerce and in-venue-retail partner.
Fanatics will also gain fan apparel rights to design, manufacture and distribute an expanded assortment of Golden Gopher merchandise.
Minnesota will maintain its partnership with Nike as its provider of team performance products and select apparel for its athletic programs. In addition to the University of Minnesota, Fanatics holds similar primary fan apparel deals with college partners, including The University of Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon, University of Florida, and University of Miami.
Minnesota and Fanatics have already teamed up on a series of hyper-local “Hometown Collection” Gopher products, including items to celebrate 100 years of Minnesota hockey, available to fans online and in brick & mortar stores. In July 2020, Fanatics launched an e-commerce and mobile platform for Minnesota fans, shop.gophersports.com.
Fanatics has also assumed operations of the Department’s in-venue athletics retail locations, including TCF Bank Stadium (Football), which will feature a Nike concept shop, improved retail fixtures, store branding, and a 3M Arena at Mariucci (Hockey), and Williams Arena (Basketball).
“Gopher Athletics is excited to partner with Fanatics to advance our licensing program and retail merchandising strategy. We are thrilled to align with an innovative industry leader to enhance the Minnesota brand by delivering unique product assortments that serve Gopher students, alumni, donors, and fans throughout the Midwest and across the world,” said Mike Wierzbicki, associate athletics director for external affairs at the University of Minnesota.
“The University of Minnesota has established itself as an elite athletics program across all sports, and we are thrilled to welcome them to our roster of preeminent college partners,” said Derek Eiler, executive VP, Fanatics College. “Through Fanatics’ industry-leading omnichannel retail and vertical manufacturing capabilities, we’ll create a significantly expanded assortment of quality products across all retail channels for Golden Gopher fans to access in real-time regardless of when, where or how they wish to shop.”
Photo courtesy Fanatics