Tim Tebow, whose jerseys are one of the NFL’s best sellers, changed teams just as the NFL is changing apparel makers.
And that’s creating a problem.
Reebok, whose contract with the NFL expires March 31 and with the NFL Players Association expired Feb. 29, pushed as many Tebow New York Jets jerseys onto the market as it could last week and Nike has filed a lawsuit to stop the sales. Its new licensing deal with the NFL begins April 1, with new designs being unveiled April 3 and online pre-orders opening April 15. The Nike jerseys will be available for actually wearing on April 26, the first night of the NFL Draft.
Peyton Manning changed teams, too, and sells jerseys, but the focus is on Tebow and the enormous New York market that opened up when he officially became a Jet on Monday. Tebow shirts are for sale in stores and in the NFL’s online shop.
“We have filed a complaint relating to unauthorized use of Tim Tebow’s name on New York Jets related apparel,” Nike said in a statement. “Nike is authorized and licensed to use Tim Tebow’s name on products. We have no further comment at this stage.”
In the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Nike says, “The opportunity to sell the first Tebow-identified Jets apparel is a unique and short-lived opportunity. It is unlikely that a consumer who purchases an unauthorized Tebow-identified NFL jersey or t-shirt from Reebok this week will purchase an authorized Tebow jersey or t-shirt from Nike the following week.”
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