Boston College and New Balance have agreed to a 10-year footwear and apparel deal, forming a union between one of New England’s most prominent college sports programs and the largest shoe company in the region.
The Eagles parted ways with Under Armour, which cut ties with several colleges amid a rocky 2020 in which the company endured a 15 percent drop in revenue and laid off 600 employees.
The deal with New Balance will start June 1. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, other than it being the largest in school history, but a source said the deal was worth $45 million.
New Balance will outfit all of the Eagles programs, except football. An announcement on an apparel deal for the football program is expected soon. The BC hockey program will be outfitted by Warrior Sports, a New Balance subsidiary.
BC athletic director Pat Kraft was optimistic about the wide-ranging possibilities of the new partnership.
“This agreement is a great fit for Boston College,” said Kraft. “New Balance is a Brighton neighbor that shares our values. Like BC, it rose from humble beginnings and has grown into an international powerhouse that remains committed to integrity and corporate responsibility. We look forward to this successful partnership and how we can join together to further strengthen our community.”
New Balance’s only ties to college sports were its apparel deal with Maine up to last year and Central Michigan up to 2009. Now its brand will be identified with a school in a Power 5 conference.
New Balance laid out a vision more than a decade ago to reach beyond being a company known largely for running shoes. By 2023, New Balance wants to be the third-largest athletic brand in the world behind Nike and Adidas. In the past two years, the company has expanded its brand across Major League Baseball and Premier League soccer, but it has made its biggest splash with the NBA.
Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard made waves two years ago when he shunned Nike to sign a deal with New Balance.
As it continues to expand its brand in basketball, the company will work closely with the BC men’s and women’s basketball programs to help with design and product enhancements.
“This progressive collaboration joins two world-class Boston-based teams with strong synergies at our core and enables a broad spectrum of initiatives that will drive innovation, performance, and creativity,” New Balance vice president of global team sports Ray Hilvert said in a statement.
“Boston College athletics is known for its historic commitment to excellence and we look forward to working with Pat Kraft, Father Leahy, and the entire Boston College team to build a strong and dynamic relationship that benefits student-athletes and our shared communities.”
Athletes are expected to see a 50 percent increase in gear from New Balance compared with the previous deal, and they also will play a part in the design of their practice and game-day apparel.
Along with outfitting 30 of BC’s 31 teams, New Balance will provide student-athletes the opportunity to participate in its annual internship program. Two internships per year will be offered to BC athletes. Many teams also will have access to the state-of-the-art 200-meter hydraulically-banked track at New Balance once construction is completed.
“This partnership will be an absolute game-changer for Boston College athletics and our student-athletes,” Kraft said in a statement. “This is not just a historic deal in terms of the financial value and amount of apparel for our department. The opportunities for our student-athletes to assist in product design and development of the footwear and apparel they will actually wear and compete in will be transformational.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.