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updated: 6/20/2017 5:53 PM

Stevenson considering Under Armour sponsorship deal

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  • Stevenson High School's Matt Korinek tries to evade a tackle in a 2016 game against Lake Zurich. Under Armour sponsors Stevenson High's football uniforms, and now the company wants its logo on all of the school's varsity athletic gear.

      Stevenson High School's Matt Korinek tries to evade a tackle in a 2016 game against Lake Zurich. Under Armour sponsors Stevenson High's football uniforms, and now the company wants its logo on all of the school's varsity athletic gear.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Stevenson High School could save up to $100,000 annually on athletic gear through a proposed sponsorship deal with apparel giant Under Armour.

The offer would make Under Armour the exclusive manufacturer of uniforms and most equipment for all of Stevenson's varsity teams for five years, Stevenson High spokesman Jim Conrey said.

Under Armour approached the Lincolnshire school about sponsorship earlier this month, Conrey said. Stevenson officials now are seeking competitive bids from any interested apparel suppliers.

A bidding process is legally necessary, Conrey said, because of the value of the purchases involved.

"Even though Under Armour initiated the conversation, at this point it's an open field," Conrey said.

An Under Armour spokesman couldn't be reached for comment.

Stevenson officials believe a sponsorship agreement covering all varsity sports would be a rarity in the Chicago area. Some schools have sport-specific deals with vendors, Conrey said.

Stevenson has 39 extracurricular athletic teams, from freshman to varsity levels. Approximately 2,300 Stevenson students participate in extracurricular sports, Conrey said.

They wear gear from Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, Speedline Athletic Wear and other companies.

Under Armour proposed giving Stevenson product rebates in exchange for exclusive apparel and equipment rights at the varsity level, Conrey said. Those rebates could be worth between $50,000 and $100,000 annually, Stevenson officials estimated.

Stevenson's junior varsity, sophomore and freshman teams would be encouraged to purchase uniforms and gear emblazoned with the Baltimore company's UA logo.

"The focus on the varsity level is an acknowledgment of the attention that varsity results receives in terms of media exposure," Conrey said.

A sponsorship pact would significantly reduce the cost of uniforms and equipment, Conrey said. Prices would be reduced for parents, students or anyone else who wanted to buy Stevenson High athletic gear, too.

Rather than approaching manufacturers for bids, Stevenson is reaching out to distributors such as Eastbay and BSN Sports, Conrey said. But any exclusive deal would be for one manufacturer's products.

Bids will be opened July 12, Conrey said. The school board could greenlight an agreement at its July 17 meeting.

A deal could go into effect immediately. But affected teams wouldn't have to change brands until their next uniform purchase.

"Since uniforms are bought with the idea of lasting a few years, it's conceivable that a team might not make the move right away," Conrey said. "A few seasons may pass before they switch."

If the sponsor doesn't make a desired piece of equipment, Stevenson would be free to use a different manufacturer. For example, Stevenson's football players wear Under Armour uniforms but Riddell helmets, and that could continue.

"We will continue to wear the helmet we feel is best for our football athletes," Athletic Director Trish Betthauser said.

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