Champion (also stylized as Champion U.S.A.) is an American manufacturer of clothing, specializing in sportswear. The brand is a subsidiary of Hanesbrands (based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina), which was spun off by the Sara Lee Corporation in 2006. The company was originally based in Rochester, New York, prior to its acquisition by Sara Lee in 1989. "Champion" is Hanes' second-largest brand.
|Formerly||Knickerbocker Knitting Co.|
Champion Knitting Mills Inc.
|Fate||Acquired by the Sara Lee Corporation in 1989, then other owners|
Number of locations
|28 stores (2021)|
Products manufactured and commercialised by Champion include casual wear clothing (t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, leggings, shorts, jackets, undergarment), footwear (sandals, sneakers, socks), and accessories (bags, hats, collectibles).
The company was established in 1919 by the Feinbloom Brothers as "Knickerbocker Knitting Company." The company soon signed an agreement with the Michigan Wolverines to produce uniforms for their teams. In the 1930s the company was renamed "Champion Knitting Mills Inc.", producing sweatshirts. Soon after, Champion products would be adopted by the US Military Academy to be used during training exercises and physical education classes.
Champion was acquired by Sara Lee Corporation in 1989. Champion produced uniforms for all the NBA teams during the 1990s and some NFL teams during the 1970s to the 1990s, for both on-field and retail purposes. It has also produced sportswear for many major colleges. Champion was also the kit manufacturer of the Olympic basketball team that competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
For many years Champion supplied the football uniforms for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In 2001 Notre Dame signed a five-year exclusive agreement with Adidas, which ended a partnership Champion had with the university that spanned over 50 years.
In the past, Champion manufactured uniforms mostly for basketball and American football teams, most notable its long-time partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) that extended until 2004, when Reebok took over. Champion also sponsored International association FIBA until 2017.
The following is a list of some of them:
- Wigan Athletic (2008–09)
- Sochaux (2003–05, including the last season as main sponsor of the club)
- Parma (1999–2005, including the last season as main sponsor of the club)
- Cosmos (1975–76) 
- Wales national team (2008–10)
- NBA – all teams (1990–1997), some teams (1997–2002)
- U.S. national team (1992–2000)
- Cyprus national team (2015)
- Italy national team (1996–2016)
- Virtus Bologna (1999–2005)
- Dynamic VIP PAY
Replica jersey uniforms made by Champion in the licensed sports business:
- "Champion stores in the United States". william lyle. 2018. Retrieved 17 Jan 2020.[self-published source]
- Key, Janet (14 February 1989). "Sara Lee Adds Champion Sportswear To Wardrobe". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 Jan 2020.
- "The History of Champion". The Idle Man (Blog). 13 November 2018. Retrieved 17 Jan 2020.
- About us on Champion-eu website
- JARochNY (2010-10-21), Abraham and William Feinbloom, Champion Products, Inc., retrieved 2018-06-05
- Champion presents the new Greek national basketball team jersey Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Dame, ENR/PAZ // University Communications: Web // University of Notre. "Adidas allegiance // News // Notre Dame Magazine // University of Notre Dame". magazine.nd.edu. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
- NBL.com.au. National Basketball League https://nbl.com.au/news/champion-signs-up-as-nbl-on-court-apparel-partner. Retrieved 13 March 2020. Missing or empty
- Reebok signs deal with NBA by Richard Sandomir, NY Times, Aug 2001
- FIBA firma alianza estratégica con la icónica marca Nike on FIBA.com, 27 Feb 2017
- NFL official uniform suppliers at the Gridiron Uniform Database
- NY Cosmos jersey history on NASL Jerseys
- REEBOK LANDS $200 MILLION+ NBA DEAL on Adage.com, 2 Aug 2001
- Cyprus Basketball Federation, http://www.basketball.org.cy/ Archived 2010-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 1 October 2015. (in Greek)
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