Fanatics files suit against Cardinals WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

May 18, 2024, 8:59 PM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Fanatics filed a lawsuit against Arizona Cardinals rookie Marvin Harrison Jr. on Saturday night in New York Supreme Court for breaching a contract the wide receiver signed with the retailer in May 2023.

In the suit, Fanatics said Harrison has refused to fulfill his obligations to the deal while he also "publicly asserted" that the contract does not exist.

Details of what Harrison's contract with Fanatics required from the No. 4 pick in the NFL draft were redacted, as were the details of the financial agreement between the two. However, a source told ESPN earlier this month that the deal was for at least $1 million and that the contract was for autographs, signed trading cards, game-worn apparel and other marketing opportunities.

The suit also sites "The Official Harrison Collection LLC" as a defendant. Harrison is selling signed memorabilia through The Official Harrison Collection's website. Items include photos ranging from $99.99 to $149, a jersey at $299.99 and a helmet for as much as $549.99. The site, which says, "Cardinals memorabilia coming soon," states that it is "the ONLY website to purchase signed Harrison memorabilia."

In the suit, Fanatics claims that Harrison told the retailer that a "larger competitor" had made an offer to him while other trading card companies have made "competing" offers, as well. The suit claims that Harrison has "demanded" Fanatics meet or exceed the other alleged offers. However, the suit also asserts that Harrison has refused to provide Fanatics with the competing offers.

Fanatics maintains in the suit that Harrison has "already begun negotiating competing agreements with other collectible or sports trading card companies."

According to the suit, Fanatics and Harrison's relationship began in 2023, when Harrison, then at Ohio State, was one of "several top-tier student athletes, including many NFL prospects," whom Fanatics signed to a multiyear licensing agreement. In March 2023, Fanatics signed Harrison to a limited promotion and license agreement that was nonexclusive and ended in April 2024, before last month's NFL draft.

In the suit, Fanatics claims that after recognizing Harrison's "potentially bright future and the limitations of the promotion and license agreement," it approached Harrison again about a long-term "more substantive" deal. The two sides began talking about a new deal in April 2023, and the negotiations were "heavily negotiated," according to the suit. Harrison, who does not have an agent, was represented by his father, Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison Sr. The two sides agreed to a binding term sheet on May 16, 2023, and it was finalized two days later.

Terms of the agreement were redacted in the suit; however, the suit states that the payment to Marvin Harrison Jr. was "significant."

Fanatics said in the suit that it paid Harrison in August and October 2023, but it claims Harrison "has refused to fulfill his obligations" despite "several requests" from Fanatics over the past few months. The suit claims that Harrison has "rejected or ignored every request."

Fanatics also claims in the suit that Harrison disclosed confidential information about his contract to ESPN.

The suit states that on April 23, 2024, Marvin Harrison Sr. asked Fanatics for a copy of the binding term sheet for his son. After the elder Harrison received it, the suit said he told the company that the Harrisons do not have a deal with Fanatics.

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

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.