There could be a change coming to Major League Baseball next season, according to a source close to the situation. Uni Watch passed along the news on Thursday morning that New Era Caps could be making a change to the team hats for the 2014 season, which is the final year of their contract.
Per the report, teams would switch from the current on-field caps and switch to the Diamond Era caps, which have a different texture than the caps currently worn.
I’ve been told that all MLB hats will be switched to the “Diamond Era” BP cap material next season and that the current Authentic Collection caps will be discontinued. I do not yet know if this means all the hats will be imported (as all the BP caps currently are) or if a percentage will be still USA-made, but the visual difference will likely be jarring, since the Diamond Era caps have a textured fabric.
Also: New Era’s exclusive contract with MLB is set to expire at the end of 2014. MLB is less than pleased with New Era for snagging the rights to the NFL and creating a product line that is in direct competition with MLB’s on-field line, and as such has been slow to re-up with New Era. Nike has thus become interested in acquiring the contract and has begun a full-court press to become MLB’s exclusive supplier of on-field hats.
New Era’s current contract stipulates that the hats are to be made domestically but allows for a percentage to be imported. The imported caps have included the Chinese-made GI Joe caps (because nothing says pride in America and supporting our troops like a Chinese-made baseball hat) and the new BP caps that were introduced this season. Nike currently does not have means to produce hats domestically, so if they end up with the new MLB cap contract, all game caps would presumably be imported.
An MLB spokeperson told Uni Watch, “We aren’t going to confirm or deny any information about new products for next year.”
If the change is made, it shouldn’t be significant enough to cause an uproar from fans or players, but it would be interesting to see how much better the hats could sell. New Era has plenty of different fabrics throughout their current collections, but the traditional on-field caps are always the most popular.
We are still months away from any official announcement, so until then let’s just sit back and enjoy the playoffs with the current cap collection.
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