- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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On Wednesday morning, Tim Tebow's Jets jersey appeared back on NFLShop.com, the NFL's official online store, the first time adult-size jerseys have been available since mid-May.
Tebow was traded from the Broncos to the Jets on March 22, just eight days before Nike was scheduled to take over for Reebok as the league's official apparel provider. Realizing a last chance to cash in off one of the league's most marketable players, Reebok took 6,000 blank Jets jerseys and sold them to retailers. But Nike sued Reebok, claiming that its competitor's ability to put names on the back of the jerseys ended in February 2012, when its deal with the NFL Players Association expired. Reebok eventually agreed to tell retailers to stop selling the gear and reimbursed the stores for the Tebow inventory.
Because of the demand and the timing of the changeover, Nike's adult Tebow jerseys sold out quickly. By mid-May, when Tebow jerseys went on backorder, Tebow had the league's second best-selling jersey only behind the guy who replaced him in Denver, Peyton Manning. While Tebow jerseys were unavailable, he was passed in sales by Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Sources told ESPN.com that the main reason for the delay was that Nike didn't have any extra blank Jets jerseys in the United States, which would allow the world's largest shoe and apparel maker to just personalize the name and number with "Tebow" and "15."
The home replica Tebow jersey in adult sizes sells for $100. Infant, toddler and kids' sizes of Nike's Tebow jerseys, which have been available since its deal started on April 1, cost $40, $45 and $75, respectively. Nike will be the official apparel provider of the NFL for the next five seasons.