Fanatics, the sports merchandise provider, has been the focus of many fans’ ire lately for a perceived lack of quality and consistency in team-branded jerseys and shirts. Now, those criticisms and frustrations have leaked over to professional athletes, a number of whom are reportedly unhappy with a collaboration between Nike and Fanatics.

With certain players officially reporting for Major League Baseball spring training, Stephen J. Nesbitt of The Athletic reports that some are frustrated with the fit and look of their jerseys. The complaints have led to the Major League Baseball Players Association – the players’ union – getting involved.

Will Players Pressure Fanatics?

A common complaint about Fanatics among sports fans is that – despite frustrations over quality – there are essentially no other options for which to purchase official merchandise for team gear – particularly when it comes to the MLB or the National Football League.

This means that both fans and players are likely going to have to accept that Fanatics will be the manufacturer of their jerseys, but with a larger individual platform and a higher stake in the product, players’ complaints may put greater pressure on the company to address the specific frustrations.

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas claims that the 2024 iteration of jerseys do not fit correctly because the pants are no longer customized, and the fabric is of what seems like a lower quality. Another player reportedly said the jerseys, “look cheap.”

At this point, it is unclear what the MLBPA’s involvement will be in the matter. It is the job of the players’ association to listen to consistent player frustrations and look into the matter.

Meeting End User Expectations

Promotional product distributors and manufacturers are ultimately obliged to serve the needs of the end user of any given product. Failing to do so can cause reputational harm to the client.

  • From a fan perspective, these jerseys retail for as much as $174.99.
  • In 2024, it is assumed that professional athletes are competing with the most state-of-the-art equipment and uniforms in order to perform at the highest level possible. This is one of the reasons such player complaints have generated national press.

The news of player complaints came out when only pitchers and catchers had reported to MLB spring training. The rest of the players will report later this month, trying on the 2024 version of the jerseys for the first time. It is worth keeping an eye on whether this story fades away as on-the-field developments take precedence or becomes even more prominent if more players begin voicing frustrations.