June 13, 2024

Nike, after criticism, releases goalkeeper jersey of England star Mary Earps

Nike, after criticism, releases goalkeeper jersey of England star Mary Earps
Reuters

(Reuters) - Nike released a replica jersey for England goalkeeper Mary Earps on Monday, after facing widespread criticism for not selling the popular FIFA Women's World Cup finalist's shirt.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Earps said she was not aware the jerseys would be going on sale, but thanked followers for their “incredible support.”

Earps also said the jerseys had sold out on the same day they were released. Nike would not comment on whether the jersey sold out, or how many it sold, but the shirts do not currently appear for sale on its website or through the England Football Association’s website.

In a statement to Reuters, the company said that "more will be for sale later this season."

Earps was one of the standout stars of the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this year, earning FIFA's Golden Glove award. She was voted England Women's Player of the Year last month.

Nike previously faced backlash from fans and from Earps herself after replicas of the goalkeeper’s jersey were not made available during the competition, which ended on August 20 with a Spain victory against England.

More than 170,000 people signed a Change.org petition calling on Nike to sell jerseys for Earps and other women goalkeepers.

The England men's goalkeeper jersey is available to buy on Nike’s website.

Nike announced on August 24 that it would make its women's teams goalkeeper kits available for fans, telling Reuters it had “secured limited quantities of goalkeeper jerseys for England, U.S., France and the Netherlands to be sold through the Federation websites over the coming days.”

The company did not comment on why it chose to release Earps' jersey in October.

Nike produced 13 of the 32 team jerseys for the FIFA Women's World Cup. Its England kits became an added source of revenue after the US team, which it has sponsored since 1995, suffered its earliest exit ever in the tournament, creating a major loss in earnings potential.

Sports sponsorship is a major sales driver for apparel manufacturers. Last month, Nike executives told investors the company beat sell-through plans and saw double-digit growth across its global football category in the quarter ended August 31, which included this year's tournament.