Reebok’s Tebow Merchandise Gets Grounded by Nike

Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) shares gained more than 1 percent late Tuesday after the company reached an agreement with Reebok International Ltd. to settle litigation over the sale of New York Jets apparel with the name of Tim Tebow. Reuters reports, “According to settlement papers made public on Tuesday, Reebok will halt the sale of Jets-related apparel bearing the Tebow name that was distributed last month, and offer to buy apparel already shipped to retailers.”

Nike sued Reebok last month after Tebowmania hit New York and caused a surge in demand to buy Jets jerseys and T-shirts with the quarterback’s name on them. Reebok’s deal with the NFL Players Association to sell merchandise featuring player names and numbers expired at the end of February. Thus, Nike claimed the Reebok sales were unauthorized.

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Tebow jerseys were the number two best seller for the NFL last year. The former Heisman Trophy winner has gained national attention among even casual fans, and his high-profile trade to the New York Jets has garnered around-the-clock national news media coverage. A poll by Walt Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) ESPN earlier in the year rated Tebow as the top favorite active professional athlete in the United States.

At a media event in New York last week, Nike unveiled its new line of NFL jerseys. Nike reportedly paid more than $1 billion for the right to be the league’s official provider. Along with new fabric technology, almost every team received a uniform makeover. However, not every team was happy with the new uniforms. The Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles decided to keep their current uniforms. In a statement, Nike announced, “The Green Bay Packers have chosen to stay with their traditional design aesthetic as well as their former uniform fabrication for the coming season,” according to ESPN.

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