If you have been on social media today you have seen the jokes about Boston College's new apparel deal with New Balance. And there have been plenty of them. "Boston College is the new college team for middle aged dads!" or "deal includes pleated shorts, sandals and high socks for every athlete." were two tweets that were shot out of after the deal was announced. These tweets are focused on the old perception of New Balance, and don't really hit on the newer vibe the company is bringing and true importance of this new apparel deal for the Eagles. This is a huge deal for Boston College for a number of reasons, and is much bigger than shoes.
First, this gets Boston College out of a deal with Under Armour, one that hasn't been all that beneficial for the Eagles. UA has done little to improve the brand, producing some sloppy uniforms for all sports on campus. It just felt like the company focused heavily on other schools, and left BC hanging in wind. And with the company reportedly hemorrhaging money, while losing schools, getting a new deal with a more financially solvent company is a wise move by the university.
The Eagles will also get a huge financial windfall out of this deal. Not only is this the biggest apparel deal in the history of the school, but Pat Kraft was able to broker the deal without even including football, which he can then make another deal with another company--rumored to be Adidas. With that flush of cash, Boston College Athletics can continue to grow facilities, have a higher budget and strengthen programs.
This idea that New Balance is an out of date product that only caters to middle aged men, is a misnomer. While there certainly are a percentage of sales that hit that demographic, the company appears primed to continue their push for a younger audience. NBA MVP Kawhi Leonard recently signed an endorsement deal with the company, and have been pushing for young runners with their newest advertisement campaign featuring Olympians. Current Boston College players (even ones that play football), expressed their excitement about the brand online.
There are also other perks that come along with this deal. Boston College will be able to use the now being built TRACK@New Balance in Boston Landing which will "feature a 200-meter hydraulically banked track, seating for more than 5,000 spectators, and facilities for training, events, and recovery." And for those worried that recruits will hate this deal, New Balance is going to work with BC athletes to create custom designs for both uniforms and footwear. The ability to say to a recruit, "you can make your own footwear" could be another selling point for some of these young athletes and make Boston College even more attractive.
Branding writes itself as well. New Balance is a Boston company, run by a Bostonian, Jim Davis since 1972, which ties in perfectly for the Eagles motto of "For Boston." Being their lone Power Five program, Boston College will be on the ground level, with strong potential for growth. While it is doubtful that they will get the huge boost that Oregon got from Nike, Boston College will get a bump they wouldn't get with any other company, which would have treated them like one of dozens of teams in their portfolio. This could most likely lead to more revenue sources down the road, and increased exposure in the Bay State.
While it is understandable that some folks are going to joke about this move. There is much more to this than shoes. If this move pans out for the Eagles, the New Balance deal could be a game changer and one that helps Boston College athletics take their program to the next level.
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