Alabama Athletics, Fanatics join together for NIL, NFTs, other Crimson Tide apparel

Tzali Nislick, Contributing Writer

The Bryant-Denny Stadium experience is about to get even better for Alabama athletics fans.  

The University of Alabama announced Monday a long-term multifaceted partnership with Fanatics, a sports retail company, that features a new team apparel store in the stadium for the first time.  

The university will now be allowed to create, promote and distribute Alabama merchandise in Bryant-Denny Stadium, a big step for current Alabama student-athletes in the name, image and likeness landscape. The Fanatics store, titled “The Authentic,” will include licensed customized Nike jerseys, customized name and number t-shirts, headwear, official game-used memorabilia, on-demand Topps trading cards, other student athlete NIL merchandise, and more. Virtual renderings of the store can be seen on the Alabama Athletics Twitter account 

“Fanatics has been one of Alabama Athletics’ top partners for more than a decade and this new deal elevates our relationship to new heights,” Greg Byrne, Alabama’s athletics director, said. “By taking advantage of the expanded breadth of Fanatics’ services, we have put our university and student-athletes in a position to maximize sales and brand exposure with Fanatics’ blue-chip family of brands, including Fanatics Commerce, Topps, and Candy Digital.” 

Expected to open for the 2022 college football season, The Authentic will also serve as a place to give student athletes opportunities to provide autographed memorabilia and to engage with fans via meet and greets and social media marketing. Fanatics will work with OneTeam Partners in securing group licensing rights for activation for NIL rights on merchandise, in addition to separate marketing and autographs partnerships. 

“Fanatics’ comprehensive service offering across multiple product categories was key to delivering on the University’s expectations for an elevated fan and commercial experience,” Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College, said. “The University of Alabama has high expectations for fan experience and engagement, so by creating a one-stop-shop to address all the University’s needs, we were able to align on a transformative partnership to make a profound impact on Alabama Athletics.” 

Fanatics Collectibles and Topps secured rights to create and sell official physical and digital collegiate trading cards with University of Alabama trademarks and NIL rights to current and former Crimson Tide student-athletes. Candy Digital, an NFT company, will also distribute NFTs of certain Alabama legends as well as current student athletes. 

“I think our fans will be fired up when they see everything come together inside “The Authentic shop at Bryant-Denny, which we plan to open this season,” Byrne said.