Saturday, January 9, 2016

Yale to sign big-time deal with Under Armour

Yale athletics has little in common with the fat cats of the college sports world, but it’s about to get a deal worthy of the Power Five.

Yale and sportswear giant Under Armour signed a long-term partnership that will outfit the athletic program for the next decade. The deal, expected to be announced Monday, is the first exclusive shoe, apparel and equipment contract in school history.

Under Armour, which famously outfits Maryland and Notre Dame, recently overtook Adidas as the second-largest sports apparel company in the United States and was on track to earn $4 billion in net revenue for 2015. Word is it was anxious to crack into the Ivy League, and more specifically, Yale.

Terms of the deal aren’t likely to be made public, but sources say it’s a 10-year contract is worth in the neighborhood of $16 million, making it higher in annual value than current Nike deals for Big 10 conference members Illinois and Rutgers.

It’s a major coup for Yale, especially since a portion of the contract will be paid in cash to help boost the school’s annual operations budget. No official word yet, but expect more TV broadcasts, more big-name opponents in New Haven and, perhaps, Under Armour-sponsored hockey and basketball tournaments.

One thing loyal Yale fans and alums needn’t worry about is tradition. Maryland, Texas Tech and even Navy allowed Under Armour to make wild changes to uniform color schemes and football helmets. But the university isn’t interested in radical revamps. So breathe easy. Yale Blue is untouchable.