NEW YORK — December 11, 2023 — The National Football League today announced the launch of Leaders, the league’s first retail program focused on creating NFL licensing for brands, collaborators and artists from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities. The program will provide a unique opportunity for these businesses to obtain NFL licenses to manufacture and sell products with official league marks and logos. They will also have access to NFL resources including product development, marketing support and retail placement. Blitz Champz, Distortedd, Hedley & Bennett, and S.T.A.B.L.E. Goods are the inaugural brands under the Leaders Program to receive an NFL license.
“Leaders represents a fresh take on how the NFL discovers and works with new businesses, bringing diverse brands to the league’s expansive licensing portfolio. By lowering the barrier to entry, the NFL is now exposed to new and exciting retail partners outside of our typical assortment,» said Xaimara Coss, director of licensing at the NFL. “We are thrilled to welcome Blitz Champz, Distortedd, Hedley & Bennett, and S.T.A.B.L.E. Goods, who are leaders in their respective industries, as the first NFL partners in the program to share our vast platform and fandom with.»
The NFL-licensed merchandise created under Leaders will highlight each brand’s individuality and distinctive product offering.
- Blitz Champz is a Black-owned card game for all, created by Adrienne Smith, Boston Renegades wide receiver, football advocate, spokesperson and entrepreneur. Under Leaders, Smith created a Blitz Champz NFL Collection featuring eye-catching, stylized designs that capture the essence of each of the NFL’s 32 teams.
- Anhia Zaira Santana, also known as Distortedd, is a Latina visual artist, illustrator and animator. As part of Leaders, Distortedd produced a t-shirt and hoodie collection inspired by NFL team mascots and logos through the lens of engineering and machinery.
- Hedley & Bennett is a Los Angeles-based, female-owned kitchenware company, founded by Ellen Bennett, a Mexican and English cook, designer, author and mom. Hedley & Bennett offers pro-grade cooking essentials to inspire creativity and confidence in every kitchen and with the NFL license, will produce NFL-themed kitchen accessories.
- S.T.A.B.L.E. Goods is a Black-owned independent luxury luggage and bag brand. Founded by Rashad Lyons, S.T.A.B.L.E. draws creative inspiration from urban culture and uses it as fuel for product development. As part of Leaders, S.T.A.B.L.E. Goods will create NFL-themed luxury bags including duffel bags, cross-body bags and backpacks.
“Leaders is an integral continuation of the NFL’s commitment to supporting diverse companies throughout every aspect of our business,» said Jonathan Beane, senior vice president and chief diversity & inclusion officer at the NFL. “We are proud to partner with these four brands to ensure that diverse entrepreneurs get their fair share of the league’s resources and influence, and to ensure that the league’s brand reaches new audiences.»
In addition, the NFL has collaborated with No Caller ID, a sports and media intellectual property marketplace that offers a racially, ethnically and gender-diverse group of brands and artists opportunities and access to valuable intellectual property across the sports and media landscape. No Caller ID will help manage Leaders as well as source brands for the program.
“No Caller ID is privileged to partner with NFL on the Leaders Program,» said Matthew Fine and Arsen Salatinjants, co-founders of No Caller ID. “We look forward to working with such an esteemed group of collaborators, facilitating their NFL-licensed collections and assisting in telling their inspiring stories.»
Merchandise created under Leaders will be available on NFLshop.com/leaders. For more information on the program and its licensees, visit NFL.com/causes/leaders.