Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research. On this week’s episode, Ben Rains discusses the NFL’s new national anthem policy and breaks down everything investors and sports fans need to know about e-commerce power Fanatics after the company’s new NFL and Nike (NKE - Free Report) deal.
The NFL’s ratings have declined across NBC (CMCSA - Free Report) , CBS (CBS - Free Report) , Fox , and ESPN (DIS - Free Report) over the last two seasons. But while many have pointed to the growing popularity of streaming services, such as Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) and new NFL partner Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , along with cord-cutting as major reasons for the league’s poor ratings, others have blamed the controversy surrounding the national anthem. This prompted the NFL’s owners and Roger Goodell to adopt a new policy, starting this upcoming season.
“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” the NFL wrote in an official statement. “Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.”
This move is sure to become a point of controversy in the coming months, and will likely linger throughout the entire 2018/19 season—which is the last thing the NFL really wants.
Transitioning to a non-political NFL update, the league recently struck a new 10-year licensing deal with Fanatics. The multibillion-dollar e-commerce powerhouse will soon manufacture and distribute all non-player NFL gear for adults.
Nike’s logo will still appear on all official NFL gear and the sportswear giant will also outfit all of the players. But the new deal is part of growing trend. The NFL, like many others, wants a more streamlined and insanely fast e-commerce business. This is where Fanatics and CEO Michael Rubin’s—who sold his last company to eBay (EBAY - Free Report) for $2.4 billion in 2011—end-to-end e-commerce strategy comes into play.
Fanatics has made similar deals with Under Armour (UAA - Free Report) and MLB. Meanwhile, the company has amassed some of the biggest names in sports from Manchester United (MANU - Free Report) to the NBA and NHL, which is all part of Fanatics’ goal to take on the likes of Amazon and Alibaba (BABA - Free Report) in a unique way.
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