Under Armour won’t begin supplying Major League Baseball uniforms until 2020, returning to the original schedule and abandoning a plan to accelerate the rollout a year earlier, according to officials familiar with the plans.
Major League Baseball and the Baltimore-based sports apparel and footwear brand decided that transitioning from Majestic Athletic to Under Armour as the official uniform provider by next season was not feasible.
Under the new timetable, Majestic will continue making the uniforms in 2019.
Major League Baseball is the first of the major professional sports leagues for which Under Armour will provide all the game uniforms. The brand’s logo will appear prominently on one side of the jerseys’ chest area. Majestic’s logo currently appears on the sleeve.
Under Armour and MLB formally announced the 10-year partnership, then scheduled to start in 2020, in December 2016. Under Armour's partner in the deal, sports merchandise retailer Fanatics, was granted licensing rights to manufacture and distribute fan gear.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the collaboration would help grow the sport with young people.
At the time, Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s founder and CEO, called the agreement "a massive statement for our company."
In May 2017, the parties moved the timetable up to 2019, following the announcement that Fanatics had signed an agreement to buy Majestic’s plant in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and keep production of MLB uniforms and fan wear there.
But that timetable proved too ambitious. The delay was first reported Tuesday by ESPN.
MLB and Under Armour did not make officials available for interviews on the matter Tuesday.
Under Armour had been looking to make inroads with MLB, which partners with many sporting goods and apparel companies.
Under Armour produces some of the cleats, compression sleeves and batting gloves used by players. The company also makes a share of the catchers' gear, an important marketing tool because catchers and their equipment brands appear so often on camera when games are televised.
The company signed Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, one of the sport's marquee players, to an endorsement deal in 2011, when he was still in the minor leagues. It has also signed Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and a number of other players.