Fanatics suing Marvin Harrison Jr. for breach of contract

Company says receiver has failed to fulfill contract he signed in May 2023

Cover Image for Fanatics suing Marvin Harrison Jr. for breach of contract
Marvin Harrison Jr., left, held up his Cardinals jersey with commissioner Roger Goodell at the draft — but his jersey still isn't available at Fanatics. (Credit: Getty Images)

Fanatics filed a lawsuit against Marvin Harrison Jr. and his business, The Official Harrison Collection, in New York State Supreme Court on Saturday, accusing the Arizona Cardinals’ first-round pick of breach of contract and tortious interference.

The sports merchandise and memorabilia company says Harrison Jr. signed a binding deal in May 2023. However, ESPN’s Pat McAfee reported two weeks ago that Harrison Jr.'s camp said the wide receiver did not have a deal in place with Fanatics.

Cllct has reached out to Harrison Jr.’s camp for comment.

In its lawsuit, Fanatics said that out of the more than 3,000 current deals it has done with athletes, Harrison Jr. is the first the company has ever sued for failure to live up to a deal.

In April 2023, Fanatics and Harrison Jr. entered into a small, non-exclusive deal for autographs and trading cards, according to the suit. However, recognizing the Ohio State star's potential, company executives said they wanted a more comprehensive deal.

A month later, Fanatics said it entered into a "fully binding and enforceable contract," with Harrison Jr. signing the document on May 16, 2023. The deal included giving Fanatics trading-card autographs until 2026 in exchange for more than $1 million, with bonuses for awards, including Rookie of the Year, MVP, winning a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP.

After Harrison's stellar junior season at Ohio State, to no one's surprise, he announced he would go pro, meaning Fanatics would have his rights for the first two seasons of his NFL career.

But two days before the draft, Marvin Harrison Sr., the NFL Hall of Famer who is representing his son, told Fanatics there was no deal in place, according to the lawsuit. Harrison Jr.'s lawyer then followed up: "If you guys think that's going to hold up in court, then there isn't much to talk about."

Fanatics said subsequent talks with the Harrisons centered around other companies’ solicitation for Harrison’s services and the demand of Fanatics to at least match those proposed deals. Fanatics says when it asked for proof of those deals, it was refused

In the lawsuit, Fanatics said the company paid Harrison a total of $110,000 in August and October 2023, for autographs he provided, as specified by the contract.

Harrison Jr. is the only rookie to have not signed the Group Licensing Agreement, which would give his name, image and likeness to NFL licensees.

While signing the GLA will give trading card licensing rights to Fanatics competitor Panini, Fanatics still has the rights to own his autograph trading card rights should they choose to make an unlicensed card.

McAfee reported May 2 that Harrison’s team said the receiver’s refusal to sign the GLA revolved around issues with Fanatics.

In the three weeks since the NFL Draft, Harrison Jr.'s jersey hasn't been available to purchase.

Darren Rovell is the founder of and one of the country's leading reporters on the collectible market. He previously worked for ESPN, CNBC and The Action Network.