The 2015 season will be the final chapter of the licensing partnership between Reebok and the CFL.
Reebok became the CFL’s licensing partner prior to the 2003 season, inking a five-year multi-million dollar agreement to become the CFL’s sole producer of uniforms, sideline apparel, and other athletic accessories. After extensions in 2008 and 2013, it appears the CFL is ready to move on from the Massachusetts-based company.
Though an official announcement will not be made until after the Grey Cup in November, the CFL has already signed a contract with a new partner that will kick in prior to the 2016 campaign. While I was unable to learn the identity of the CFL’s new partner, it’s worth noting that the CFL inked its first deal with Reebok three years after it became the official manufacturer of NFL merchandise in 2000. With the NFL signing an agreement with Nike in 2010, the CFL may have chosen to follow the NFL’s lead for a second time in twelve years.
Regardless of the identity of the CFL’s new licensing partner, football fans shouldn’t bet on a league-wide uniform redesign for the league’s nine teams any time soon. With the last redesign taking place just four seasons ago, it’s unlikely that we’ll see such a large-scale redesign initiative in the foreseeable future. With that said, it’s possible a new licensing partnership could lead to one or two teams opting to tinker with their current uniforms.
One thing that should change as a result of the end of the CFL’s agreement with Reebok is the use of the ‘signature’ jerseys that were unveiled last season. While the CFL’s regular home and away uniform designs are owned by their respective teams, the ‘signature’ uniform designs are owned solely by Reebok, making their use impossible beyond this season barring some type of sale.
As far as I’m concerned, doing away with last season’s ‘signature’ looks would hardly be a loss. Aside from the snazzy new uniforms in Calgary and BC (as illegible as the Lion uniforms may be), the majority of the ‘signature’ looks were lackluster. The Bombers’ uniform was particularly atrocious, featuring a double-blue colour scheme that had fans across the province of Manitoba quoting Stef from The Goonies.
The CFL will announce a partnership with a new licensing company following the 2015 season. Though the exact ramifications of the new deal will remain unclear for several months, fans can rest assured of one certainty: the 2016 season will see a ton of new CFL swag hit store shelves across the country. CFL fans would do well to save accordingly.
John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk
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