NFL Signs Disney Apparel Deal in Wake of ‘SpongeBob’ Foray

Randall Williams
·2 min read

Ahead of next week’s 2021 NFL Draft, the league and Disney have unveiled a co-branded apparel line with Junk Food Clothing. The collection will offer unisex short sleeve T-shirts with retro art designs of Mickey Mouse, characters from Star Wars and the Marvel Universe. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal came about when Junk Food approached the NFL about an opportunity to produce co-branded apparel. And since the league had already worked with Disney in the past, it was a natural fit.

“We are always thinking about how we can provide the right sort of product that speaks to our fans,” said Joe Ruggiero, the NFL’s senior vice president of consumer products, in an interview. “We’ve got the draft coming up as a great point of fan enthusiasm ,and part of this could actually tie in with some of the Star Wars May the 4th opportunities that always arise. We really looked at this as an opportunity to really lean into heritage and nostalgia for both Disney and the NFL.”

In January the league launched a similar apparel collaboration with Spongebob SquarePants and Junk Food Clothing designed by King Saladeen, a Philadelphia-based contemporary artist. The Spongebob apparel coincided with the league’s Wild Card weekend when CBS Sports worked with Nickelodeon to bring a youth-centric simulcast for the league’s opening playoff round.

The NFL just signed a deal with Disney to host Monday Night Football on ESPN and ESPN+ from 2023-2033 for $2.55 billion a year, though there was no mention of carrying a game on the Disney Channel.

“We are always looking for ways to engage with our fans in new and unexpected ways, and this collaboration with the NFL allows us to do just that,” said Josh Silverman, executive vice president, third-party commercialization, Disney consumer products, games and publishing, in a release. “Fans can now celebrate their favorite teams and characters from Disney, Marvel and Star Wars, and all in time for the 2021 NFL season to begin.”

The Mickey Mouse, Star Wars and Marvel inspired collections are available at NFLShop.com, Fanatics.com, JunkFoodClothing.com, participating Lid’s and Rally House stores, NFL team retail locations and on-site NFL Shop retail locations at the NFL Draft in Cleveland.

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