Adidas will not return as the NHL’s official supplier of uniforms and apparel when their agreement expires after the 2023-24 season, the NHL confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.
Sources told ESPN that Adidas, which has two years remaining on its seven-year deal, was the catalyst in not seeking to renew with the NHL. The league has started to make other apparel companies aware that the rights are back in play.
“The NHL and Adidas look forward to continuing to work closely together over the next two years and to a smooth transition to the new authentic NHL uniform supplier, which will be announced by the NHL at the appropriate time,” the NHL said in a statement.
The seven-year deal deal began in the 2017-18 season after Adidas replaced Reebok, which had been the NHL’s uniform supplier since the 2005-06 season. Adidas also partnered with the NHL and the NHLPA to make jerseys for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
At the time of that deal, sources said Adidas was paying at least double the $35 million annually that Reebok had been paying for the rights.
The NHL and Adidas partnership featured some innovative moments, such as the memorable Team North America jerseys at the World Cup and a line of NHL “Reverse Retro” jerseys, a streetwear-influenced remix of classic NHL sweaters and logos that teams wore during the 2020-21 season.
Adidas also emphasized promotion of individual players, as stars like Connor McDavid signed deals to promote the brand. Sources told ESPN that players with expiring endorsement deals have been told by Adidas that those deals would not be renewed, which was a harbinger that the company was heading for a split with the NHL.
The NHL is also in a long-term deal with Fanatics, a partner since 2005. Fanatics has been the official manufacturer of a broad range of NHL apparel and headwear, including replica jerseys, since the 2017-18 season. It runs the NHL’s e-commerce retail site and operates on-site retail at numerous NHL events.