The brand with the three stripes is moving on from the three-down league.
Adidas, the CFL’s official outfitter and licensing partner for the last two seasons, has informed the league that it will not be continuing in the role after the deal expires after the 2018 campaign.
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the league is working on finding a replacement for Adidas, who took over from Reebok to much fanfare in 2015.
“There is a constant evolution to our licensing deal and our sponsorship deals,” Ambrosie said in an interview this week. “We’re not at a place today where we’re going to talk openly about where we’re going but there are some exciting things happening in that area… with people other than Adidas.”
Adidas is the second-largest sports apparel manufacturer in the world behind Nike and is one of the most prominent brands in sports. The company sponsors close to 50 NFL players and is an official partner of the 2018 World Cup.
With Adidas departing, there are relatively few big-name options available to the CFL.
The NFL’s apparel rights are currently owned by Nike, a partnership that was recently extended until 2028. Under Armour supplies jerseys to a number of high profile U.S. college programs including Auburn, Notre Dame and UCLA. Reebok, who was the CFL’s apparel sponsor from 2003 until 2016, is owned by Adidas.
Landing a prominent brand could be critically important for the league. In addition to the importance of revenue from jersey sales and apparel to the individual teams, the lack of a major outfitter could make it harder for the league to get American players up to Canada.
A new apparel sponsor also increases the likelihood of a new uniform redesign next season. Adidas revamped the jerseys for all nine teams after taking over in 2016 and a new provider would be expected to put its own stamp on the league’s look.
“Adidas has been a great partner. They’re really cool people and we love their brand, love their apparel and their shoes,” Ambrosie said. “But sometimes in business things change and you change with them so we’re going to continue to proudly wear our Adidas this coming season and then work on our plan for seasons beyond.”