by John Russel Jones

Leading sports retailer Lids has announced the launch of Lids University (Lids U), a new retail concept dedicated to collegiate sports product and apparel. Created as a space for fans to purchase products from their favorite schools, Lids U stores will open in key college markets and serve each local community.

Lids U was developed in response to loyal Lids consumers seeking more NCAA product from the retailer. The new concept will feature a significant assortment of those goods with a curated selection of headwear, apparel, and accessories from local, regional, and national university and collegiate teams. Lids U stores will be opening in shopping malls and outlets in various states across the US, with each store offering products unique to the market that it serves. Within each location, Lids will bring its trademark sense of athletic style, offering a variety of collegiate team products for fans and alumni alike including men, women, and children.

“This is an exciting moment for Lids as we officially open a new store concept dedicated to collegiate sports fans across the country,” said Lawrence Berger, Co-Founder and Partner at Ames Watson, owner of Lids, and Chairman of FanzzLids Holdings. “We understand that our customers wanted to see more collegiate products in our stores, and we’re proud to now offer a space for consumers to shop the latest looks from their favorite collegiate teams.”

Lids U stores will offer a wider assortment of collegiate products but will continue to offer the immersive shopping experience of extensive licensed and branded merchandise Lids has long been known for. They will also feature Lids’ signature Custom Zones, which allow consumers the opportunity to custom-embroider a product of their choice in-store. The stores will continue to carry apparel brands such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Fanatics, Retro Brand, Champion, Colosseum, Cutter & Buck, Antigua, Mitchell & Ness, and more, as well as Wincraft, Tervis, Indigo Falls, and headwear brands New Era and Zephyr.

Lids U marks a continuation of Lids’ commitment to providing collegiate product to fans, including the retailer’s presence on college and university campuses within the US. Lids operates Fanatics Lids College (“FLC”) which, in partnership with Fanatics, provides apparel, hard goods, and backpacks to nearly 800 Barnes and Noble College Bookstores.

One of the first Lids U stores at Gurnee Mills shopping mall in Gurnee, Illinois will offer products representing popular schools within the region as well as nationally, including but not limited to, Illinois Fighting Illini, Illinois State Redbirds, Loyola Chicago Ramblers, DePaul Blue Demons, Northwestern Wildcats, Southern Illinois Salukis, and University of Chicago Maroons, Alabama Crimson Tide, Duke Blue Devils, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes and more. Lids plans to open 11 more Lids U stores in 2022, with more to follow in 2023 and beyond.

Lids U is the newest store format from Lids’ continuously expanding brick and mortar global retail footprint, including team-specific stores with Yankees Clubhouse and Dodgers Clubhouse locations throughout the country. Lids also counts the National Hockey League (NHL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) as partners as it runs each league and team’s respective U.S. and international flagship store locations. To date, Lids operates nearly 1,200 stores throughout North America and Europe Lids continues to be the world’s largest retailer specializing in the sale of officially licensed and branded headwear with over 30 million hats sold annually.