Antitrust Case 40436 | Ancillary sports merchandise

Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2017-2019
Content Type


Reports and information on the in-depth investigation conducted by the European Commission on the licensing and distribution practices undertaken by Nike within the EU single market when it comes to merchandising products.

Further information:

The antitrust investigation was launched on 14 June 2017 following concerns that certain licensing and distribution practices of Nike Inc. illegally restrict traders from selling licensed merchandise cross-border and online within the EU Single Market. The practices subject to the investigation could constitute one or more suspected infringements of Article 101 TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement. Article 101 TFEU prohibits agreements between undertakings and decisions of associations of undertakings that prevent, restrict or distort competition within the EU's Single Market.

On 15 March 2019, the Commission announced the decision to fine Nike €12.5 million for banning traders from selling licensed merchandise to other countries within the EEA. This restriction concerned merchandising products of some of Europe's best-known football clubs and federations, for which Nike held the licence. The Commission concluded that the illegal practices - which were in force for approximately 13 years - partitioned the Single Market and prevented licensees from selling products cross-border, to the ultimate detriment of European consumers.

Due to Nike's cooperation throughout the investigation, the Commission granted the company a 40% fine reduction in return.

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Related Link(s)
BBC News, 25/03/2019: Nike fined by EU for restrictions on football merchandise sales
Reuters, 25/03/2019: Nike fined $14 million for blocking cross-border sales of soccer merchandise

European Commission: Press Release, 14/06/2017: Commission opens formal investigations into Nike’s, Sanrio’s and Universal Studios’ licensing and distribution practices
European Commission: Press Release, 25/03/2019: Antitrust: Commission fines Nike €12.5 million for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products

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