Major League Baseball’s transition to Under Armour uniforms, which had been slated to take place next season, has been pushed back to 2020, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN.com.
Majestic, which currently makes MLB uniforms, will remain as the on-field uniform outfitter in 2019.
The news is the latest in a series of back-and-forth scheduling moves regarding the Under Armour transition. When MLB’s apparel contract with the Maryland-based company was announced in 2016, the plan was for Under Armour to take over as the on-field uniform supplier in 2020. That timetable was moved up last spring, when MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the transition would take place in 2019. Monday’s development restores the original 2020 target date.
An Under Armour spokesman said: “We have nothing to report at this time.”
MLB and Fanatics, which owns Majestic, did not respond to requests for comment.
The news is a setback for MLB’s efforts to appeal to a more youthful demographic. According to a Sports Business Journal article from 2017, the average age of MLB fans in 2016 was 57. For the NFL it was 50, NHL 49 and NBA 42. The Under Armour deal was widely viewed as part of an effort to address the age disparity issue.
Aside from the business-related implications, the Under Armour deal is significant from an aesthetic standpoint because it calls for the company’s logo to appear on jersey chests — not on the sleeves, where the Majestic logo has long appeared. The one-year delay means that the manufacturer’s logo will remain on the sleeves in 2019.