- Foot Locker is merging its Champs Sports and Eastbay brands after last year integrating the corporate organizations for both labels, according to a company release.
- Dubbed Champs Sports x Eastbay, the combined brand has its own unified logo and aims to position itself in the youth sports market with retail experiences and joint offerings in the coming months.
- With the launch of the brand, Champs Sports x Eastbay is rolling out an exclusive apparel line with Uninterrupted, an athlete-led media brand that is part of The SpringHill Company, co-founded by LeBron James.
Foot Locker's merger brings together a sports performance (Eastbay) and lifestyle (Champs) brand under one roof and with a pitch to student athletes. "The brands coming together will continue to inspire the next generation of athletes by helping them game, train and live at their best, with a mission to be the true expression of sport culture," the company said in a release.
The combination won't change the branding or assortment of Champs stores, according to a company spokesperson. A Florida Champs store set to open early next year will have an Eastbay presence, similar to a Chicago-area Champs store that included Eastbay's first physical presence within it.
While Champs has more than 500 stores in the U.S., Eastbay has been a direct-to-consumer brand for most of its life. Both brands are decades-old and have been through numerous evolutions already. Champs and Eastbay have also been challenged in the pandemic era, with last year's severe decline in youth sports participation.
Both brands, in part, turned to video to engage customers and stay relevant. That continues with the Uninterrupted partnership. Along with the apparel line, the two companies are teaming up on a video series called "More Than An Athlete Hotline: Varsity Edition," hosted by a former college football kicker and YouTuber Donald De La Haye and women's college basketball star Sedona Prince.
As for the apparel line, it's set to begin Dec. 1 with the first of three drops focused basketball, including hoodies, T-shirts, joggers, accessories and compression pieces. The collection launches on both on Eastbay.com and ChampsSports.com, and at select Champs Sports stores. The next collections focus on baseball and football, with drops slated for 2022.