By Barry Janoff
March 22, 2012: Now that Peyton Manning has official become a member of the Denver Broncos, a plethora of officially licensed goods is about to hit the market.
Leading the way is Sports Authority, the Denver-based sporting goods company that is the official sporting goods retailer of the Broncos. Sports Authority is also in the second year of a $150 million, 25-year naming rights deal for the Broncos' home venue, Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Beginning April 1, Nike replaces adidas division Reebok as the NFL's official apparel supplier. And Denver-area Sports Authority stores could be the first in the U.S. to get Nike’s officially licensed NFL Manning gear, which the company said would be available in its 21 Front Range locations on April 27.
The NFL's online store currently is offering a Manning Broncos' jersey from Pro Line, which is exclusive to NFL Shop and is not manufactured by Nike or Reebok.
Manning will retain his No. 18 jersey, the number he wore during 14 years with the Indianapolis Colts,. The number had been worn by Frank Tripucka, who was the Broncos' first quarterback (1960-63), and was subsequently retired. But Tripucka, now 84, gave the Broncos permission to "unretire" No. 18 so that Manning could don it.
Manning's No. 18 Colts jersey had been among the Top Ten best-selling NFL jerseys for about ten seasons, but it fell to No. 18 this past season, according to NFLShop.com, when Manning missed the year due to several surgeries on his neck.
Among the initial goods being offering by Sports Authority are Reebok men's, women's and youth T-shirts. Next month, when Nike replaces adidas division Reebok as the official outfitter to the NFL, Sports Authority will stock Manning's No. 18 Nike Broncos jersey, sweatshirts and other gear.
“This is a great time to be a Denver Broncos fan," Joe Newsum, svp-marketing for Sports Authority, said in a statement. "Sports Authority is a big supporter of the Denver Broncos and we are thrilled Peyton Manning is going to make his home in Denver and play at Sports Authority Field this fall."