(NORMAN, OK – MARCH 18, 2021) – Fanatics, a global leader for licensed sports merchandise, and the University of Oklahoma today announced a sweeping, 10-year, exclusive retail and licensing partnership, which beginning this year will see Fanatics become the university’s primary apparel and headwear partner. The deal expands Fanatics’ current omnichannel partnership (e-commerce and in-venue retail) with the Sooners and adds existing manufacturing and product rights from Top of the World, the leading collegiate headwear licensee, which has been an OU partner for more than 30 years. Last year, Fanatics acquired certain assets from Vetta Brands, including Top of the World, which has been rebranded Top of the World by Fanatics.
Under the new arrangement, Top of the World by Fanatics has secured comprehensive rights to design, manufacture, and distribute a significantly expanded selection of OU men’s, women’s, and youth fan apparel and headwear to enhance the experience for students, alumni, and fans worldwide. The trusted Norman-based Top of the World brand, located only five miles from the OU Norman campus, continues to operate locally through a new headwear “Center of Excellence” established by Fanatics and extends an existing 10-year primary headwear partnership with OU.
The catalyst to the deal follows a detailed analysis of the OU licensing program and a proposal process completed in conjunction with the university’s exclusive licensing agent, CLC. A key benefit to the university will be Fanatics’ agile supply chain, which will deliver the fastest speed to market of real-time, high quality OU merchandise to fans regardless of shopping online, on their phones, across on-campus stores or retail locations throughout the state and region. Top of the World by Fanatics will serve as the university’s primary licensee for apparel and headwear at retail and will bring on additional licensees in select categories and retail channels, including kids, outerwear and fashion apparel, to ensure fans have access the overall widest selection of OU products.
“Fanatics and Top of the World have been long-standing partners with our program because they are leaders in quality production and customer service. Together, we have achieved great success,” said Joe Castiglione, University of Oklahoma VP of Intercollegiate Athletics/Athletics Director. “We are excited about this new agreement and look forward to working with people that we have known and trusted for many years.”
“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with the University of Oklahoma and are confident that the addition of these new primary fan apparel rights will create a lasting, amplified shopping experience for fans and retailers alike,” said Scott Shuler, President of Top of the World by Fanatics. “Infusing our new Top of the World headwear capabilities with Fanatics’ existing on-demand manufacturing model will ensure the largest assortments of apparel and non-apparel products are readily available for Sooners fans regardless of where they want to shop.”
As part of the deal, the university will maintain its long-term partnership with Nike and Jordan Brand as the exclusive supplier of performance products and select apparel for OU Athletics. Fanatics will amplify the partnership through dedicated marketing initiatives that will expand and enhance OU’s retail presence. The deal also includes commitments to various academic programs, including internships and an annual academic initiative fund.
In addition to OU, Fanatics and Top of the World by Fanatics hold similar primary fan apparel deals with renowned college partners including the University of Notre Dame, University of Oregon, University of Kentucky, University of Florida, and University of Miami.