Reebok International Ltd has landed a deal with The National Football League to manufacture and sell NFL licensed merchandise, including uniforms, sideline apparel, footwear and an NFL-branded apparel line.

The 10 year exclusive license, agreed by NFL owners and Reebok's board of directors, will form part of the NFL's plans to restructure it's consumer products business.

The license, beginning in 2002 season, will grant Reebok exclusive rights to develop a new line of NFL fitness equipment, as well as on-field uniforms, sideline apparel, practice apparel and headwear for the 32 NFL teams.

Reebok have announced that they will be creating a new division dedicated to the NFL contract in order to fulfil its requirements.

As part of the agreement, the NFL will receive annual royalty guarantees and the option to acquire an equity position in the new business.

"The sports licensing business has undergone significant changes in recent years and the NFL is taking steps to better control and further enhance the products we deliver to our fans," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

The agreement with Reebok provides a strategic framework which will enable Reebok to improve the product design, quality and marketing of NFL licensed merchandise. We're pleased to work with Reebok and Paul Fireman who share the same vision as we do for the further building of the NFL brand."

"The unprecedented partnership between Reebok and the NFL represents a quantum leap forward in the sports industry," said Paul Fireman, Reebok chairman and CEO.

"This agreement represents a strategic alliance between two of the most powerful and recognisable sports brands in the world and we will work together to design, develop and bring to market stylish, innovative and cutting-edge apparel that will elevate the excitement and cachet of the NFL brand, both on and off the field.''