By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (July 20, 2017) — Athletic director Lonn Reisman announced in a Thursday press conference that Tarleton State is the first NCAA Division II university in Texas to land an exclusive 3-year deal with global sports apparel leader Nike.
“We’re excited about this for three primary reasons,” Reisman said in a one-on-one interview following his prepared statement to the small crowd, including Nike reps, at Wisdom Gym. “First of all, I think it will help in recruiting, because all the kids love Nike and everyone wants to wear the best and look the best. So that’s just another tool in our arsenal as we recruit student-athletes to this great university. Second, it’s great branding for Tarleton to be tied in with Nike and to get to be the first Division II school in Texas that has an exclusive deal with them. This is a globally-recognized brand, n0t jut regionally, statewide or nationwide but a globally-recognized brand. And third, we love it being exclusive. I know right now that we won’t have coaches worrying about who to order from, which company is best, who would Tarleton rather work with, no. It’s all Nike, so that streamlines that process for us.”
The exclusivity of the deal means all Tarleton uniforms, shoes and any new apparel sold or distributed by the athletics department will be products of Nike through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.
Flanked by mannequins displaying new Tarleton football and men’s basketball jerseys adorned, of course with the instantly recognizable Nike Swoosh, Reisman told attendees of a press conference at Wisdom Gym that Tarleton’s growth in national exposure in the form of playoff contention, visibility on ESPN 3 and more helped the department land the deal with Nike, and that in turn, the Texans and TexAnns should bring good visibility to the Nike brand throughout central Texas and beyond when their teams are away from home.
There’s a fourth benefit for Tarleton – financial savings.
“Jerseys, shoes, everything else you have to take into account, those are expensive items,” Reisman said in his post-conference interview. “Nike and BSN Sports are being very generous to us, and we are going to be able to save some money in the budgets for every sport and at the same time partner with one of the most recognizable brands in the world, most definitely the number one brand in their industry.”
Tarleton athletic communications said in a Wednesday press release that Tarleton is one of eight NCAA universities in Texas to have an exclusive Nike deal, joining Division I members Texas, TCU, Baylor, SMU, North Texas, Abilene Christian and Lamar.
BSN Sports, an online retail leader in sports apparel holding licensing agreements Nike and other global and national brands, says it is proud to include Tarleton in the far-reaching Nike and BSN umbrella.
“”We are excited to partner with Tarleton State and Nike in elevating the performance and impact of their athletics program,” said BSN Sports president Terry Babilla, according tot the Tarleton release. “This strategic partnership provides the finest apparel and athletic products to the Tarleton athletic teams and benefits each student-athlete on the athletic field or court. We are proud to be their partner, and pleased that we can elevate the student-athlete experience.