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. But manufacturers must make separate deals with the league and the union, and while Reebok’s NFL deal expires March 31, their contract with the NFLPA expired on Feb. 29. So March is a no-brand’s land, when Reebok’s no longer allowed to put players’ names on jerseys, but Nike’s not yet allowed to put team names and colors on them. With Peyton Manning in Denver and Tim Tebow in New York, two of the hottest moneymakers aren’t available for the moneymaking.
According to Nike,
As of March 1, 2012, Reebok’s rights under its NFL Players group licence were limited to, at most, the right to sell out existing inventory of products identified to individual players existing prior to March 1, 2012. For Tebow, that would mean existing Denver Broncos inventory—not new New York Jets products. […] In short, Reebok may create new products featuring NFL Marks, but not new products featuring an individual player, without such player’s authorization or consent.
Real interesting stuff here. It seems inconceivable that there would be a one month period in which no one owns the NFLPA license.
It seems that Reebok can still sell the blank Jets jerseys they clearly had in stock and wanted to move when Tebow was traded, but the act of screening Tebow 15 made then unlawful. Will be interesting to watch in the coming weeks.