NWSL, Amazon Ink Merch-on-Demand Partnership to Expand Relationship


The NWSL is deepening its relationship with Amazon as the league continues to blaze its own path when it comes to its licensed merchandise, such as t-shirts and hoodies.

The women’s soccer league announced a new multiyear deal with the tech giant that will make Amazon its “exclusive retail partner” and an official league licensee. Under the deal, NWSL fans will be able to buy hundreds of officially licensed products on Amazon, some made through the company’s print-on-demand service. It does not include product from Nike, which makes team uniforms.

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) is also one of the NWSL’s broadcast partners. The deal is also notable for the company not involved; Fanatics operates the official online shop for every other major U.S. pro league—the NWSL’s is run by Legends—and the company’s own print-on-demand operations were a calling card in its rapid ascent to become the world’s largest seller of officially licensed merchandise.

Amazon, by contrast, has taken a much more hands-off approach to licensed sports apparel. Despite its historically dominant position across much of e-commerce, Amazon has largely left this specific corner to Fanatics. In November, however, Amazon launched its new Fan Shop, a dedicated landing page organized with licensed products. The company has licenses with the NBA and more than 200 NCAA colleges, and it boasts an on-demand merchandise platform that has partnered with IP giants like Disney, Fortnite, Universal and Marvel.

It’s unclear whether the league is using that platform, or if this partnership is run through a different group at Amazon. Financial terms weren’t provided.

“Amazon’s global reach and customer-centric approach pairs perfectly with the NWSL’s fan-forward ethos,” NWSL CMO Julie Haddon said in a statement. “This partnership will not only amplify the NWSL’s fandom and growth, but will also offer our fans an easy and accessible way to support their favorite teams and athletes.”

This deal is separate from the league’s relationship with Amazon for its media rights. Amazon is one of four new NWSL media partners and will broadcast 27 exclusive games this season. As part of this new agreement, the league has also agreed to migrate previous seasons’ matches, highlights and interviews onto the company’s cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services.

Another notable part: AWS, Prime Video and the league will work together to explore tech efficiencies that might bring down the production cost of live games. The league currently bears the majority of those costs, which can be upwards of $80,000 per game, or $10+ million per season.

This is not the first time Amazon has explored a licensed sports merchandise opportunity that could overlap with its Prime Video offering. Back in 2020, Amazon and English soccer club Tottenham discussed launching a Tottenham brand store on Amazon’s marketplace. Those talks came as Amazon prepared to release a nine-part docuseries about the soccer team’s 2019-20 season.

Amazon and Fanatics have also been willing to work together. In 2021, they collaborated with the NFL to dramatically expand the number of officially licensed NFL products on Amazon. It also does not include Nike product, as Nike cut ties with Amazon back in 2019. That effort remains active, with an NFL shop, co-branded with Fanatics, living on its own landing page within Amazon’s marketplace.


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