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Wednesday, August 6
Russell loses bid for MLB uniform contract

Associated Press

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. -- Russell Corp. will not provide uniforms to Major League Baseball teams after 2004, having lost its bid for the contract to Majestic Athletic.

Majestic, based in Pennsylvania, will be the sole supplier of uniforms worn by the 30 teams after the 2004 season, the league said Tuesday. Russell has a contract to make uniforms for 15 teams through 2004; Majestic has the contract for the other 15.

"We made what we thought was an exceptional offer," Russell spokeswoman Nancy Young told The Birmingham News. "It would not have been sound business to increase it."

Sales of apparel with Major League Baseball logos, which Russell will lose as a result of the deal, account for only 1 percent of company sales, Young said.

But Russell sells thousands of youth and high school baseball uniforms and can no longer bill itself as official supplier of uniforms to the sport's greatest players.

Russell supplies uniforms to 180 NCAA Division I teams. Its subsidiary, Spalding, also provides game balls to volleyball and basketball leagues.

Russell has been concentrating on acquiring sporting goods and athletic apparel makers as rivals have offered to pay more for the right to supply game uniforms and sell replicas.

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