Fanatics Files Lawsuit Against Former Ohio State Wide Receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. For Breach of Contract

By Chase Brown on May 19, 2024 at 12:51 pm
Marvin Harrison Jr.
Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports

Fanatics has filed a lawsuit against former Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., in which the apparel and collectibles brand claims Harrison breached a contract he signed with the company in May 2023.

On Saturday, ESPN and The Athletic obtained Fanatics’ 17-page lawsuit filed to the New York Supreme Court. The company stated Harrison refused to fulfill his contractual obligations while he also “publicly asserted” that the contract does not exist.

Harrison and Fanatics’ relationship started after the 2022 college football season in which the 6-foot-3, 209-pound pass-catcher became a unanimous All-American. According to Fanatics’ lawsuit, Harrison was one of “several top-tier student-athletes” whom the brand signed to multi-year licensing agreements. In March 2023, Fanatics signed Harrison to a limited promotion and license agreement that was nonexclusive and ended in April 2024.

Harrison’s alleged obligations were redacted from Fanatics’ lawsuit — as were details of the alleged financial agreement between Fanatics and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. However, a source told ESPN that Fanatics had plans to compensate Harrison $1 million to sign game-worn apparel and trading cards while also completing other marketing opportunities.

According to ESPN, Fanatics’ lawsuit cites “The Official Harrison Collection LLC” as a defendant. Harrison currently uses The Official Harrison Collection website to sell autographed photos, helmets, jerseys and more. A recent update to the website revealed a banner that states, “Cardinals memorabilia coming soon” and that it is “the ONLY website to purchase signed Harrison memorabilia.” Fanatics claimed the contrary in its lawsuit and stated that it paid Harrison in August and October 2023 to sell signed memorabilia for the company. Fanatics added that Harrison ignored or rejected the company's attempts to get him to do so and that the receiver rejected the existence of an agreement with the brand.

According to The Athletic, Harrison asserted other trading card companies made him competing offers and demanded Fanatics meet or exceed those offers. When Fanatics asked Harrison to reveal the terms of those offers, he refused. Fanatics also claimed Harrison or his representatives disclosed confidential information about the agreement to ESPN in an attempt to “mislead the public.”

On April 23, the week of the 2024 NFL Draft, Marvin Harrison Sr. requested a copy of Harrison Jr.'s term sheet with Fanatics. According to the lawsuit, when Fanatics provided the sheet and asked for a conversation, Harrison Sr. informed the company that they did not have a deal. Fanatics stated additional attempts to find a resolution were unsuccessful.

According to the lawsuit, Fanatics — which hopes the suit will compel Harrison Jr. to fulfill his obligations — requested a jury trial and estimated damages to be in the "millions of dollars."

In addition to his legal matters with Fanatics, Harrison also has yet to sign the NFL Players Association's group licensing agreement, which would allow the union to market his name, image and likeness to 85 companies.

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