Fanatics and Nike Blamed by Fans for MLB Uniform Problems

Even though Nike was responsible for the uniform redesign and MLB approved it, baseball fans overwhelmingly blamed the Fanatics. This is despite the fact that the league's uniforms have been made in the same factory since the early 2000s and no problems were reported before this year.

“We're doing exactly what we've been told, and we've been told we're doing everything exactly right,” Michael Rubin, the founder of Fanatics, said at a sports analytics conference at MIT this month. Despite this, he said the company receives the majority of criticism. “So it’s not fun,” he added.

Fanatics has become a target for many because it manufactures and sells officially licensed field uniforms and equipment for most major professional sports leagues in the United States. The company was for follow-up several times, and many claim it has a monopoly on sports memorabilia. MLB gear, which Nike designs and Fanatics makes and sells, isn't cheap either — a 2024 jersey costs around $175but some editions cost almost $400. Prices are equally high for Nike/Fanatics NFL and NBA replica jerseys.

Matt Powell, a senior advisor at BCE Consulting who has studied the sports retail industry for more than two decades, said the biggest problem with MLB uniforms this season was how they were marketed . “They did a poor job of selling it,” Mr. Powell said. “When players arrived at spring training, they were suddenly given a different jersey than they were used to, and no one explained its benefits, why the changes were made or what work they did to develop the product. If Nike had done a better job communicating the changes, this wouldn't have become a hot spot.

The uniform debacle is also indicative of how sportswear is evolving to become more performance-driven, sometimes at the expense of aesthetics and quality. Nike isn't even the only sportswear company to experience a scandal over see-through pants. In 2013, investors deposit a class action lawsuit against Lululemon, whose stock price fell after a reminder on her see-through black yoga pants.

“You had this evolution of fabrics,” said Todd Radom, who wrote the book “Winning Ugly: A Visual History of the Most Bizarre Baseball Uniforms Ever Worn” and personally designed the logos and uniforms of several baseball teams. MLB. “In the early 1970s, they turned to synthetic fabrics. There was this arms race to become lighter and cooler.

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