Since 1997, the University of Notre Dame football team has been sponsored by Adidas. That all changed when the university signed the largest apparel deal in college sports history with Under Armour earlier this week. The 10-year deal is worth an estimated $90 million in cash and apparel will begin in July.
However, the deal could end up being worth more than the estimated $90 million as Notre Dame has the option to invest the cash in Under Armour’s stock. Notre Dame plans on helping Under Armour grow through these investments.
Given Under Armour’s track record with making flashy uniforms for teams they sponsor such as Texas Tech and Maryland, many Irish fans have been concerned the traditional Notre Dame uniforms will be altered.
“We’re not anticipating doing anything unusual, crazy. We need to honor and respect the history of the University,” said Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour. This respect for the school’s tradition was one of the key reasons Under Armour was able to land this deal.
The university is also sticking to tradition on its signage policy. With the magnitude of this deal there was some thought the signage policy would be altered at the university. “There will be no change to our approach to signage with regard to any of our facilities,” said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s athletic director. This was a great deal for Notre Dame as they were able to keep their traditions while also being able to partner up with one of the top sports apparel companies.
Notre Dame plans on helping Under Armour improve their company as much as possible. Technology is the key component to improving sports equipment, and the university has big plans on helping out in the advancement of equipment that Under Armour distributes.
“We want Notre Dame, our coaches and our student athletes, to be an Under Armour laboratory, a proving ground for new technologies,” said Swarbrick. Under Armour will be able to use the university to gather data and improve its products.
This was a great deal for both parties involved. Notre Dame will partner with one of the fastest growing companies in the world while maintaining its storied traditions. Under Armour gains notoriety by sponsoring one of the most historic football programs in the entire country. Notre Dame will get top of the line apparel while providing data to Under Armour that will allow them to evaluate and improve their products.
Swarbrick moved Notre Dame to schedule five ACC games a year and now partner with Under Armour in a record breaking deal. Big things are happening at Notre Dame and should be expected to keep happening. Some Irish fans may be apprehensive about these changes, but these changes are beneficial. These changes will help continue to keep Notre Dame relevant in the world of college football.