Yankees fans might not like the fact the Nike swoosh is located on the front of their team’s jersey beginning in the 2020 season, but the sponsor gave MLB a 10-figure reason for including them.
Nike, Fanatics and MLB agreed to a 10-year deal worth more than $1 billion to make the company the league’s uniform manufacturer, according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.
“Demand is up significantly based on adding the swoosh to the uniform and is bringing in younger consumers to the sport and a marketing halo from Nike,” Michael Rubin, the founder and executive chairman of Fanatics, told The Post.
MLB made the chest position available at a higher price in doing the new contract with Nike and Fanatics, the foremost expert on baseball uniforms, Paul Lukas, founder and editor of Uni Watch, told the Post.
It is a change from the norm of the past three decades, when other manufacturer logos, most recently Majestic, appeared on the sleeves of the jerseys. The Yankees were an exception, allowed to opt out for “tradition,” according to Lukas.
Every MLB team, including the Yankees, has had the New Era logo on the side of their caps since the 2016 postseason.
Record-breaking free agent signing Gerrit Cole’s jersey, which is on sale at both Fanatics and MLBShop.com as of Thursday morning at $359.99 a pop, is the first Yankees jersey available for purchase with the Nike swoosh in the front.
Cole took the No. 45 jersey from first baseman Luke Voit.
Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees last week at the MLB Winter Meetings. It’s the biggest deal ever given to a pitcher. To make room for Cole on the 40-man roster, general manager Brian Cashman designated pitcher Chance Adams for assignment.
Cole was the runner-up in voting for the 2019 American League Cy Young Award, going 20-5 with an AL-best 2.50 ERA and MLB-best 326 strikeouts for the Houston Astros.