Erin Andrews is going back to where it all began: the hockey rink.
The sports broadcaster and sideline reporter for Fox Sports’ National Football League’s broadcasting team got her big break in 2004 when ESPN hired her as a reporter for its National Hockey Night. She even married a hockey player, Jarret Stroll, who played for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild and still works with the Kings on player development.
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Now Andrews has signed a multiyear deal to bring her Wear by Erin Andrews women’s sportswear collection to the National Hockey League. Andrews launched her fashion line for the National Football League in 2019 and it has since expanded to the National Basketball Association as well as select NCAA schools.
Under the terms of this deal, Andrews will create an officially licensed collection of jackets, T-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings, crop tops, button-down shirts, loungewear and sleepwear for all 32 teams. The collection will be sold online at NHLShop.com and Fanatics and will also be available at NHL arena team stores and other select retail locations in the U.S. and Canada to coincide with the start of the 2021-22 NHL season in October.
Wear by Erin Andrews is designed for women to showcase their allegiance to their team in what is being described as “subtle but elevated tasteful design.” The tag line for the collection is “EveryWear, AnyWear, Wear.”
Andrews said that during a sports break for the Olympics about six or seven years ago, she started brainstorming about what could be “a good side hustle,” and came up with the idea for a women’s-specific collection for hockey fans. “We realized there was a really big white space for female fans,” she said. “I would go to the pro shops looking for Christmas gifts and ask why there was so much for men and not for women.”
She started knocking on doors but was turned down repeatedly as potential partners questioned both her dedication to the idea and the business opportunities of a women’s line. But eventually, she was able to get the NFL to give her a shot.
Although the first collection was small — only eight or nine pieces — it quickly became popular and was expanded in both the number of items offered as well as the teams and leagues involved. Andrews now works with more than 100 teams, but hockey remains a passion.
“Having Wear by Erin Andrews be part of the National Hockey League is a true homecoming for me,” she said. “Hockey has been part of my family on and off the ice throughout my entire life. It is where I began my career, my husband is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, and the NHL was the original inspiration for the creation of Wear.”
She said that while fashion as a whole evolves every season, “that hasn’t happened with sports apparel.” So Andrews will offer “little hints of style” in each collection such as placing team logos on the hip or collar rather than the front. There will be “fun bomber jackets” she would wear on the sidelines or denim shirts that would work just as well at a bar after a game as in the seats.
Last year during the pandemic, she said, tie-dye was among the most popular items and her goal is to offer women pieces that can be worn with leather pants or shorts out to dinner or to drop the kids off at school, “not just at a tailgate.”
She added: “Fashion is not my thing — I have a very tomboy sense of style — but I love sports and I thought there had to be a way to mesh the two. And I want fans to have some options.”
“Erin Andrews began her sports broadcasting career in hockey and that longtime association with the League has resulted in an incredibly authentic and innovative approach to the design process for this new NHL collection,” said James Haskins, the NHL’s group vice president of consumer products licensing. “Hockey fans can look forward to contemporary apparel that offers a unique combination of fashion and function and a consciousness for what female hockey fans want to wear at the game, out on the town or in a casual office environment.”
Women make up 40 percent of hockey’s fan base and Haskins believes they will be drawn to Andrews’ sensibility. In addition, the NHL’s recent broadcast deals with ESPN and Turner Sports in the U.S. as well as the addition of a new team, the Seattle Kraken, for the upcoming season, are expected to give a further boost to the game as well as the sales of the line.
He said the collection, which will have mid-tier pricing, will be focused on “function, form and fit,” and will be “item-driven with a focus on hero items.” It will also have a distinct fashion twist. “Just because it’s sport doesn’t mean it can’t have whimsy and fashion,” he said. “This is a space with a lot of momentum and fan energy,” he said.
Haskins pointed to the fact that sales of the line will be digitally driven, which is seen as beneficial in a post-COVID-19 world. He pointed to Andrews’ strong social media presence as another asset for the line. She has more than 1.3 million followers on Instagram and 2.7 million on Twitter. Even though online will be the primary sales driver, Haskins said the physical team shops at arenas have evolved from “concessionaires to flagships” and will also be a key channel.
Now that Andrews has signed the NHL, there’s only one major sport that she isn’t working with yet: Major League Baseball. But that might soon change. “We want it all,” she said. “Bring on MLB.”