Under Armour is reported paying 16.5 million Dollars, according to a deal with Yale University Athletics to outfit the Bulldogs for the next 10 years. As reported by the Portland Business Journal, that’s more per year than Nike Inc. pays to outfit Rutgers or Illinois and the 460,000 Dollars Nike pays Iowa State — all major-conference programs whose basketball and football teams regularly appear on national TV, giving their sponsors’ logos valuable visibility across the U.S.
“Yale can’t offer that,” says Bloomberg Business. “The Ivy League’s television deals are limited compared with the NCAA’s biggest conferences. No matter how much talent the Bulldogs recruit, they won’t qualify for the College Football Playoff.” “The Yale brand,” explains Under Armour Vice President of Sports Marketing Ryan Kuehl, who cited the powerful alumni network, its global footprint and its elite student body. “The number of young people around the world who aspire to attend Yale University is mind-boggling. That aspirational positioning made the deal worth it,” Kuehl said. Yale’s breadth also gives Under Armour a chance to experiment with new products. “Whether it’s track and field spikes or volleyball equipment, it’s going to allow them a great research and development laboratory to invest, test, and do research on product categories they’re not currently in,” said Chris Bevilacqua, a New York-based sports and media consultant.
The16.5 million Dollars deal reflects an arms race between Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, three of U.S. collegiate sports’ biggest sponsors. In 2014, Under Armour secured the rights to the University of Notre Dame, which at the time said the contract was the largest in the history of college sports. Last year Nike agreed to pay the University of Michigan 169 million Dollars over 11 years, ousting Adidas AG from Ann Arbor, then extended its deal with the University of Texas on a 15-year, $250 million contract.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.